Cricket: Patel forgives his NZ batsmen

By Kris Shannon

It's a tough life being a Black Caps bowler but Jeetan Patel forgave his batsmen, despite their collapse undoing his own good work.

Patel struck a double blow yesterday when India were threatening to pull away on day two of the first test in Hyderabad, restricting the hosts to 438 and keeping New Zealand in the match.

But Patel's efforts went unrewarded when five of his teammates lost their wickets in the last session to reduce the tourists to 106-5 at stumps.

While it would hardly have been pleasant viewing for Patel and his fellow bowlers, he empathised with the batsmen sent back to the pavilion.

"It is disappointing but it's simple - they bowled some good balls and we nicked them," Patel said.

"Four of the five wickets I saw were really good nuts so that's testament to their bowling. It does happen sometimes to batters - they sometimes get good balls and they sometimes get out."

The familiar folding of the Black Caps' top order has left the side with an uphill battle to salvage something from the match, especially considering the form of India's two spinners.

Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin combined to take all five New Zealand wickets as the tourists' batsmen continued to struggle against spin bowling.

Patel remained bullish about his side's chances, but did admit they were on a hiding to nothing after being forced to field first when MS Dhoni won the toss.

"It was always going to be hard for us, bowling first on a wicket that doesn't offer you much at all.

"But we've got an opportunity to come out and face the music and stand up and fight. I think the best thing about Kiwis and Kiwi cricketers is we know how to fight.

"We've been in a lot of situations when we have had to fight. Tomorrow's a good chance for the guys to get back in, understand what the situation is and what's going to come at us.

"Hopefully, if we can get things right, we'll go close to getting back into the game."

It may have been worse for New Zealand without Patel's efforts on a pitch which was lifeless for the team's seam bowlers. Patel ended the 127-run stand for the sixth wicket between Cheteshwan Pujara and Dhoni, dismissing the centurion before claiming the skipper's scalp four overs later.

He finished the innings with a return of 4-100 from 41 overs, figures which proved satisfying for the off-spinner on his return to the national side.

Having under-performed in his last test against Zimbabwe late last year, Patel was always confident of getting another chance - it was just a matter of making the most of it.

"That's what I want to do - to contribute to opportunities for us to win," he said. "Obviously getting four-for is nice but it's going to take more than that to get us over the line.

"I've had a little bit of success but I've got a lot of work to do yet."

- APNZ

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