After two back-to-back defeats at the hands of Virat Kohli-led Team India in the ongoing five-match series, New Zealand coach Gary Stead on Saturday said that the biggest challenge for his batsmen in the remainder of the series is to build partnerships at the top of the order.

India’s spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bagged six wickets as the Men-in-Blue bundled up the Blackcaps for 234 runs in reply to India’s 324 for 4 to take a 2-0 lead.

When New Zealand coach Gary was asked about the performance of his team, he said, “It (performance) has improved slightly but obviously not a polished performance from us.

“They batted well and I was thinking it could have been 350 plus. So I am pleased with the back end bowling performance there. In the end, the work Bracewell put in was a promising sign but it wasn’t a complete performance by any means.”

In the 2nd ODI, Kiwi batsmen failed to build a partnership at the top. New Zealand’s highest partnership was between no 8 batsman Doug Bracewell (57) and no 10 Lockie Furgusen. The duo added 58 runs for the ninth wicket.

“We haven’t build partnership across the top 6-7 which was the strength of what we did so well against Sri Lanka and what we haven’t clicked or done here yet. As a batting unit, that is going to be our challenge going into the next three games, to build those partnerships,” Gary Stead said.

“Our guys know that you can’t rely on lower order to win games, it’s got to be the top order to score the majority of the runs, we haven’t done that as yet in the two games,” he further said.

“I still have faith in our squad, we are still in someway experimenting, trying to work out what our best XI is, and it is an ongoing thing, it will slightly change with the conditions as well,” added Gary.