Sharjah: The New Zealand team struggled to cope with the death of Australia`s Phillip Hughes and discussed calling the match off before playing the delayed second day of the third test against Pakistan, said coach Mike Hesson.
Both sides took to the field in Sharjah on Friday and New Zealand reached the close on 249 for one after bowling out Pakistan for 351.
Officials had postponed the second day on Thursday out of respect for 25-year-old batsman Hughes who died in a Sydney hospital after having been struck in the neck by a short-pitched delivery two days earlier.
"Today wasn`t about cricket," Hesson told reporters after Friday`s play was noticeably sombre with no-one celebrating wickets falling or batting milestones, like captain Brendon McCullum`s 78-ball century.
"Today was about supporting one of our fellow players and the players really struggled, there is no doubt about that.
"We were just trying to get through the day, trying to get through the first session, helping each other get through it and just moving on to the next one. We didn`t think too far ahead."
Hesson said there was a suggestion on Thursday that the game should not carry on.
"There were a lot of discussions about the test continuing but by this morning we knew it would go ahead," he explained. "Everybody in our team is affected, some very affected.
"For us it`s about helping the individuals in the group. We weren`t really conscious of performance, we were just worried about looking after each other.
"It`s still a bit raw," said Hesson. "Some of our players knew Phillip really well, the players are going through a grieving process and just need some space."
New Zealand did not bowl any short-pitched deliveries on Friday as they took Pakistan`s last seven wickets for 66 runs.
"The game was irrelevant at that stage, that (not celebrating) was just a natural reaction by a group of people whose mind was elsewhere," added Hesson.
"We didn`t bowl any bouncers and that was to show respect."
Both sides paid tribute to Hughes before play started, with team caps placed on top of their bats alongside advertising hoardings as part of the global social media campaign `#putoutyourbats`.
New Zealand`s players also wrote `PH` under the fern on their shirts.