Ind vs NZ, 2nd test, Mclean Park,Napier, March 26,2009 - MATCH PREVIEW

Thursday 26 March 2009, 2:42AM
By Cric Corner

Preview of the Match exclusively by -

India leads the test series against NewZealand 1 - 0 with the next match round the corner. India eyes to seal the series by registering the victory in the match which starts on March 26th, 2009 at the mclean park,Napier. Whereas, NewZealands aims to open its account in the series, thereby giving an upser for the Indians who have been winning last few matches.

Playing conditions:
Pitch might be a factor in the second test with the forecast of heavy rains over the next few days leading upto the match. Adding to the forecast, fungus growth has forced curators to shift the pitch to keep the affected areas outside playing zone. Andy Moles, the New Zealand coach wants the pitch to be a seaming one to nullify the Indian batting line up with sideways movement against them.

Experts opinion:
Furlong was quoted as saying to the Dominion Post. "It certainly won't be a greentop, we don't want a two-day Test." New Zealand Cricket also released a statement on the pitch which it expected to be in "top playing condition". "The new strip appears hard and flat, with affected areas well outside the playing zone," the board said.

Team New Zealand
Kyle Mills, the expected strike bowler for NZ in this series has been hit all around the park with ease by Indian batsman with very few wickets against his name. From 9 wickets at 20.33 and economy of 4.35 in series against Aussies, he has managed only 4 wickets at 57.25 and econonmy of 6.36 agianst India in ODI Series. First test match hasnt also been a good one for him. Except, his batting show at Christchurch it s been an all round poor show by Mills.

New Zealand batting is an overall poor show in the first match, except Ryder and McCullum. Though, Vettori scored a century he rode on his luck or not to be so hard at him, he was not striking the balls with centre of the bat. Ross Taylor, is one man whom NZ can trust for building partnershisps. If the pitch is gonna seam in the early hours, NZ top order batsmen would be with crossed fingers to bowl first, full credits to Indian pace bowling, lead by Zaheer .

Worries added to the NZ team with injured players Daniel Flynn, Iain O'Brien and Jacob Oram. Though Flynn and O'Brien are expected to be playing in second test, Oram has been exclude as he is yet to regain full match fitness. Adding to the attack, Jeetan Patel might be included in the second Test, Moles has indicated so.May be the success of Bhaji has made them think so.

New Zealand squad: Daniel Vettori (capt), Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill Tim McIntosh, Brendon McCullum, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Jamie How.

Team India
Harbhajan's remarkable figures of 6 for 63 in the first match has lived upto his expectations. Much has been questioned about Bhaji's performance outside sub continent. He has proved his critics wrong."Though there wasn't much help for the spinner, they didn't go after him," Dhoni said. "Once you allow a bowler of his calibre to get on top of you, more often than not he will get wickets or contain you, which is as good."

The cry for India's third seamer might have hit an answer in the name of Munaf Patel. Still he has miles to go and promises to be kept. Munaf is hitting the right areas and bowling good length. His fitness is the only concern and team India is well aware of it, if not atleast Dhoni."We didn't want him [Munaf] to bowl eight- or nine-over spells, like Ishant or Zaheer do," Dhoni said after the Hamilton Test.

As far as batting is concerned, nothing is much to be said. NewZealand should get the wicket of Sehwag early, or else the situation will be worse than previous match, as he scores at a faster pace compared to other Indian batsmen. Useful runs by Gambhir,Dravid, Dhoni,Zaheer indicate India is in good touch. Hopefully, Laxman and Yuvi will also be amidst runs in the forthcoming test. Last but not the least, Little Master will continue painting on with his masterpieces, as he is in top form.

India Squad: V Sehwag, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni(capt), Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, I Sharma, MM Patel, Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, L. Balajji, Dinesh Karthik,Dhawal Kulkarni, Amit Mishra, Murali Vijay

Important Stats for Indian fans:

* Dravid is one short to be leading in catches. Gonna be another milestone to be achieved by Mr.Wall.

* It was in the same pitch, Sachin scored 20 runs short of being youngest ever tets centurion in 1990. All the then NZ players walked upto and congratutlated him, as he walked off with tears rolling down his cheeks.

* Dhoni expects to win the series straight away and present it as a gift to Dravid and Sachin.

* India has won 99 test matches out of the almost 428 tests played in its cricket history.If India wins the nest one against NZ dat would be their perfect 100.

- Karthikeyan C.N.

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