Wellington, Jan 31: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said Friday that the forthcoming two-Test series will be a test of character for his young team, which was battered 4-0 by New Zealand in the five-match ODI series.
India failed to salvage some pride in the fifth and the final ODI and lost it by 87 runs here at the Westpac Stadium for their second successive ODI series loss in two months.
Despite the humiliating series loss, Dhoni backed his boys and said they have to believe in themselves to play their strokes confidently.
“From the talent point of view, these are the players. They have to back themselves to play their strokes but the execution is what is lacking. It’ll be a bigger test of character in the Test series and it will be good for our younger players,” he said.
Dhoni credited the New Zealanders for playing some good cricket and said their new ball bowlers have done well.
“Throughout this series, they’ve played very good cricket. Their new ball pair have been very good but where they’ve taken the game away is in the middle overs batting which set up their charge late in the innings, picking up 80-90 runs consistently,” he said.
New Zealand captain Brandan McCulllum said beating India, who entered the series as World No.1, made it their best series win.
McCullum was also happy with the way youngsters like Matt Henry, Hamish Bennett, Jimmy Neeshan and Corey Anderson performed against India.
“The boys worked very very hard to pull this off, especially against a tough one-day side like India. We saw Matt Henry comes in and take to it outstandingly, there was Hamish Bennett and Jimmy Neesham and the emergence of Corey Anderson as well.
“It’s been pretty pleasing to see Kane and Ross score all those runs. In all the time I’ve seen him play, Ross hasn’t been as good as he’s looked in this series. For a guy who’s young, Kane’s become one of our experienced lads and has been moving from strength to strength,” he said.
Ross Taylor, who was declared Man of the Match for his consecutive tons, feels India will come back hard in the Tests. He also lauded Kane Williamson, who has scored five fifties in a row.
“The way Williamson’s batted, five fifties in a row, has done a wonderful job for us. We play different games. I scored a little quicker and then he caught up later and 300 was always going to be difficult to score.
“It’s a good sign that the new players come in and do well. Henry has a good future after this performance. India will come back hard in the Tests and we’ll be ready them but we will enjoy this victory tonight,” he said.