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Always challenging coming to India and playing a really good side: Santner

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Kolkata, Nov 22 (IANS) New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner, who captained the team in the third T20I against India on Sunday, admitted that it is always a challenge to play against an Indian team in their home conditions. He added that New Zealand couldn’t step up to the challenge of consistently picking wickets at the top.

With the 73-run loss in the third and final T20I on Sunday, New Zealand were consigned to a 3-0 loss in the series which came just three days after playing in the Men’s T20 World Cup final against Australia in Dubai.

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“It was a challenging series. It’s always challenging coming to India and playing a really good side. We were good in patches in every game. I think we lost a couple of overs here and there and stuff like that. Rohit Sharma is a very good player and showed that again in the series. I guess the challenge for us was to get wickets at the top and we couldn’t seem to do that throughout the series,” said Santner in the post-match press conference.

“But credit to the way Rohit and KL (Rahul) batted at the top and backed up throughout the game. We had our chances. I think the conditions changed in every game. Obviously, the dew played a big factor. The pitch felt like it slowed down a little bit,” added Santner, who had figures of 3/27 in Kolkata.

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Asked if fatigue was a reason in New Zealand losing the series, Santner remarked, “It’s been a challenge. It’s been a quick turnaround after the World Cup. But we pride ourselves on turning up in all the three matches and playing some good cricket against a very good Indian side. We tried to win a series in India which is tough to do and they showed once again that it’s a tough challenge.”

Santner insisted that beating India will be tough in home conditions, especially with the Test series starting from November 25. New Zealand were beaten 3-0 by India in the Test series back in 2016. “It doesn’t really matter what format you come up against India. They are going to be a challenge to beat. We saw that the last time we were here for Tests in 2016.

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“The Test boys have been out here preparing for the Tests. It’s a quick turnaround again. Hopefully, the boys are ready for the first Test in Kanpur in few days.”

The 29-year-old added that spin will play a big part in deciding the Test series. “I guess they are foreign conditions for us. We have some good spinners. We know spin will play a big part. It’s about just trying to grind out as long as you can. We’ve seen how good Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar Patel can be in these conditions. We’ve got guys like Ajaz and Somerville that are pretty eager to see some spinning wickets as spinners do coming from New Zealand.”

–IANS

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