Cape Town - Stand in skipper Ross Taylor believes the Black Caps cannot use Kane Williamson's absence as an excuse for their second Test loss in Kolkata.
Williamson went down with a bug just before the Test and was too ill to play an part in a match New Zealand needed to avoid losing in order to stay in the series.
Taylor said after play: "Anytime you have your skipper and best player out it is disappointing.
"But there has been times when Kane hasn't played one-day internationals and this probably isn't going to be the last time, with injuries; the team has to step up.
"We can't rely on Kane all the time. It was good to see him walking about [today]. I'm sure he'll be a bit lethargic over the next couple of days; it's still pretty tiring losing a few kilos and being stuck inside.
"But there are positive signs he'll be ready for the next match, and it will obviously be good for the team to have our skipper back."
New Zealand fought hard in the second Test but umtimately came up short and Taylor put the failure down to the big first innings lead they allowed India.
Taylor added: "I'd hark back to being 100 runs behind in that first innings.
"In hindsight it would have been nice to score a few more runs and if India were 3 for 40 and their lead wasn't as much. Any time you are playing catch up from that far behind, there is a lot of what-ifs.
"We could go through every session. At the end of the day we were beaten by a better side.
"Our pacemen were definitely positive and even the way [Mitchell] Santner and Jeets [Jeetan Patel] bowled. Jeets coming in, wasn't easy [for him] after only being in the country for a day and a half.
"To bowl as well as he did in that first innings and score some valuable runs, [without which] we could have been even further behind the eight ball. Yes we are disappointed, we've got to take the positives and hopefully we can play better in the next match."
Taylor praised the bowlers for toiling away in the tremendous heat: "The bowlers fought throughout and that's something we can take to Indore.
"It was pretty hot and humid out there. I liked the way they kept trucking in asking for the ball and the hostility they bowled with sometimes. We're seen as a friendly team and still are, but as a fast bowler you need a bit of mongrel.
"So for Henners [Matt Henry], who hasn't played for a while, to come and get six wickets on that wicket was good. We're still fizzing to go for Indore, hopefully we can play some fear-free cricket to put India under pressure."