(Reuters) - Not all draws are memorable but Rachin Ravindra will certainly remember his debut after helping save New Zealand in the first test against India.
The 22-year-old finished unbeaten on 18 and combined brilliantly with number 11 Ajaz Patel to keep the last wicket intact through 52 balls of elite Indian spin at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium on Monday.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead praised the young all-rounder's courage under fire and said it showed he belonged at the highest level.
"You always have those doubts when you go to that next level, but he certainly showed the composure that probably belies his age a little bit ... which is fantastic for us in the long run," Stead told reporters on Tuesday.
"It's a debut game that I think he will always remember.
"I know (batsman) Ross Taylor said at the end of the game as well, you don't often remember draws, but that's certainly one that he will remember for a long time.
"When you look at the quality of the Indian spinners as well it just, I guess, makes it even more special for him."
New Zealand, who have not won a test series in India let alone a test since the 1988/89 tour, head to Mumbai for the second and final match with hope of breaking the drought.
Stead said there might be changes to the side depending on the Mumbai wicket but defended his specialist spinners Patel and Will Somerville, who battled through a tough opener after coming in short of match fitness due to a COVID-19 disruption to their domestic season.
Somerville went wicketless for 98 runs in the match, while Patel finished with 3-150.
India's spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja, by contrast, took 17 of the 19 New Zealand wickets that fell.
"The Indian spinners in their own conditions, they probably bowl five to 10 km (per hour) quicker on average than us and that's not always an easy thing to adjust immediately," said Stead.
"So for us, it's about just trying to make small learnings from the way that we bowl ... and be that little bit better for the next game."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)