Cricket: Brave defeat still hurts for Black Caps

By Kris Shannon of APNZ in Bangalore

Being brave in defeat isn't much good for anyone, let alone a side without a win in seven tests.

But, in the coming days, the the new Zealand cricket side will look back on their five-wicket loss to India with a measure of pride.

Despite having only four days between tests, New Zealand managed a vast improvement from the nadir of the innings defeat in Hyderabad.

They displayed positivity, determination and, above all, a bit of decent cricket in Bangalore to salvage some credibility after a recent lean steak.

But captain Ross Taylor said his side are still feeling the pain after being swept 2-0 in the series.

"It hurts but I'm still proud of the team with the way the trucked it in this match," he said. "I thought the effort from the team was outstanding in this match but, obviously, I'm still disappointed in the loss."

It's a different kind of disappointment to what this team would have felt recently, though. It is one of second guessing and missed chances.

And, if you're going to lose, that must be preferred to the downright embarrassment of being thoroughly outplayed in almost every session for four days.

Taylor said their performance in the first test left them with some atoning to do and with added motivation in their minds.

"We were disappointed with the way we played in Hyderabad. We wanted to show some fight and courage."

That was accomplished, even if the mission of ending a 24-year winless streak in India went unfulfilled.

New Zealand were still in with a shot right up until the end of the decisive fourth day but, in an enthralling match in which momentum swung multiple times a day, the final shift favoured the hosts.

It was impossible to pinpoint one defining moment for the defeat, according to Taylor. They lost the test match over time.

"There were a lot of moments during the game," he said. "If we were brutally honest, we would've liked to score a few more runs in that first innings to put pressure on India.

"And we would have liked to have restricted them to a few less."

That was especially true on the final day, with 261 proving too few to defend. That didn't stop the bowlers from trying, though, and at one stage late in the day it looked as if a repeat of the victory in Hobart nine months ago might have been on the cards.

But after reducing the hosts to 166-5, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni curtailed any thoughts the Black Caps had of pulling off an upset.

"The bowlers tried their heart out," Taylor said. "They bowled a lot of overs in a short period of time. You've got to give credit to Kohli and Dhoni - they batted very well."

One more breakthrough would have exposed India's bowlers in the most pressurised of environments but, despite coming close to removing the Indian captain early, it never came.

"[Dhoni] played and missed at a few," Taylor said. "If we could've nicked him off, it could have been a different story."

Instead, it was the same, old story for a side with only one test win - against Zimbabwe in January - in 2012.

Taylor was reluctant to step back and look at the big picture so soon after such a narrow loss, but he thought his team would be better for the experience when they next wear whites against Sri Lanka in November.

"We don't want to look into things too much," he said. "We tried our best. It still hurts, but we can improve from this."

- APNZ