Kanpur: India failed to bowl out New Zealand on a deteriorating track on day five of the first Test but skipper Ajinkya Rahane praised his players saying they tried their best and couldn’t have done anything differently. Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel (2 not out off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Rachin Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) consumed 8.4 overs after the fall of ninth wicket to eke out a memorable draw for New Zealand in fading light.

“It was a very good game of cricket, they played really well. We came back really well after the first session. “We wanted to get that partnership going. We were looking to bowl 5-6 overs in the end, but we needed that partnership to carry on. I don’t think we could have done anything different,” said Rahane at the post-match presentation.

He was also asked if he could have declared earlier in the final session on day four but Rahane replied in the negative. The light metre was out after every over in the last 30 minutes of play on Monday. Rahane said the right call was made under the circumstances.

“The (frequent) chat with the umpires was about the light. They made the call and I think they were right. I thought on this wicket the spinners have to bowl long spells. It was all about rotating the bowlers.”

Rahane, who has been short of runs for a while now, also praised debutant Shreyas Iyer but did not divulge who would make way for Virat Kohli in the next Test in Mumbai.

“I am really happy for Shreyas. He had to wait a long time for his debut. The way he is batting, he is having great first-class cricket. Virat is coming back for the next game. The management will make a call (on the playing eleven),” he added.

The second Test is scheduled to be played from December 3-7.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson lauded his lower-order batters, including night- watchman William Somerville, who made 36 runs while occupying the crease for 125 minutes.

“It has been touch and go around this time throughout the game. Terrific game overall. All three results were still at play. We showed a lot of heart to bat through the day. Some fantastic experiences for Rachin, Ajaz and Somerville.

“The two fast bowlers (Southee and Jamieson) that did play were outstanding. Bowling long overs was an unbelievable effort. We know this Indian side is a very strong one. Experience overall in this game was good to have. We have to prepare for a different kind of pitch in Mumbai,” said Williamson.

Inputs from PTI