Hyderabad: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday hailed his players for their all-round show against New Zealand in the first Test here but said it was not an easy task to bowl the Kiwis out twice in a match that saw regular rain interruptions.
"It was a hardworking wicket, it was difficult to get them (New Zealand) out. We were also battling the weather and were never sure how many overs we would get to bowl at them. That was also a reason why we made them follow on," Dhoni said during the post-match presentation.
The skipper also lauded the effort of the fielders and insisted that the team is committed to improve the fielding standards.
"The catching was brilliant, Viru pa (Virender Sehwag) got some very good catches and (Virat) Kohli was equally good on the field. It is something we want to continue," he said.
India, after posting 438 on the board in their first innings, dismissed New Zealand twice to inflict on them an innings and a 115-run defeat.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored a brilliant 159 to help India cross the 400-run mark before Ravichandran Ashwin ran through the Kiwi batting order, returning career-best match figures of 12/85.
"Pujara batted well. It was important for Pujara as he was coming after an injury. He is someone who is used to playing long innings. He has a good temperament and can play for long periods and the stroke-makers can play around him," he said.
The skipper meanwhile also took an opportunity to congratulate the Indian colts for lifting the Under-19 Cricket World Cup against Australia.
"Congratulations to the U-19 World Cup team, Unmukt Chand batted really well," the skipper said.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said that they will have to learn the art of tackling Indian spinners going ahead into the second Test at Bangalore.
"We couldn`t sustain ourselves, the Indian bowling showed us a masterclass. We need to learn how to play Ashwin. We would be a lot better side come Bangalore," Taylor said.
Asked whether not playing a practice match before the start of the series proved decisive, Taylor said, "We have come over here in 2010 and drew the first two games without a practice match, we can`t use that as an excuse."
He said that they will have to sort out their batting ahead of the next match and added there was also some room for improvement in the bowling department.
"(Brendon) McCullum and (Kane) Williamson played very well. Myself included, and a few other batsmen need to put up more of a fight," Taylor said.
First Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012, 18:50