India declared a bit late in the second innings and could only bowl four overs on the penultimate day of the opening Test against New Zealand in Kanpur but debutant Shreyas Iyer has backed R Ashwin and Co. to finish the job on day five. Chasing 284, the Black Caps lost the key wicket of Will Young and still need 280 runs.
In the four overs that were possible before bad light forced an early stumps, Ashwin dismissed Young to leave the Kiwis with an improbable task of chasing down a record score in the country since the West Indies' 276 for five way back in 1987.
"To be honest, there wasn't much happening on the wicket. We needed to get to a competitive total, maybe around 275-280," Iyer said at the end of the day's play.
"The talk was to get to a competitive total and I feel that it's a really good total. We have real spin power, so hopefully we can get the job done tomorrow. We have spin power. We have to have faith in our spinners and know they can really put them under pressure on the final day."
Iyer followed up his first-innings century with a crucial knock of 65 in the second essay to signal his arrival on the Test arena with a bang. The Mumbai batter added that the team would also have been content with anything above 250.
"I thought 250-odd including the lead was more than enough on this wicket, but fortunately we got some more."
His innings bailed the team out from 51/5 in the second innings. He had faced a similar situation during a make-or-break Ranji fixture against Uttar Pradesh at the same venue seven years ago. He had prevailed then, and he prevailed on Sunday, too.
"I have been in these situations before, but not with the Indian team. I used to do this in Ranji games. The idea was to play session by session. I was aware I am the first Indian to score a century and a fifty.
"In the end we have to win the match, and that would be the most important thing for me. Rahul sir said that I need to stay out in the middle for as much as possible and build on the score.
"Mindset was to play the session and play as many balls as possible. I wasn't thinking too far ahead, was just focusing on the present."
(With inputs from PTI)