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India – New Zealand | 3rd test preview

April 2, 2009

India saved the second test by batting for a total of 180 overs spanning three days losing only four wickets in the process. The track was flat and only got easier to bat on as the New Zealand attack was made to look average.

The Indians exorcised a few ghosts by delivering, what is a competent performance given the conditions, but an excellent one given their inglorious record in similar match situations.

For an average team to grow into a dominant one, it has to start by doing the simple things right. Batting out time on a placid track is one of them.

Going into the third test match, both teams will have reason to be optimistic. New Zealand, because of the conditions at the Basin Reserve and the Indians, because of the quality of cricket they have played all through the tour, exceptions being the fifth ODI and the 1st innings at Napier.

A quick look at the key factors going into the third test match:

Indian Batting on song

Over the four innings, almost all of India’s top and middle-order have scored some runs. Tendulkar, Gambhir, Laxman and Dravid with over 200 runs each in the series. Sehwag has been disappointing with starts in all the innings with scores of over 20 in all innings while Yuvraj looked scratchy upto the 2nd innings at Napier and the unbeaten half century will help gain some confidence

Black Cap top order woefully out of touch

New Zealand’s batting strength has been likened to bowling pins with very little at the top and the body in the middle and lower order. Mcintosh, Guptill, Howe and Flynn have so far looked like walking wickets with their stiff-legged prods outside off stump. A decent start from these guys would go a long way in setting it up for their prolific middle and lower order.

Patchy bowling performances from both sides

Aside from the first sessions of both test matches, the Indian bowlers have struggled to dominate the opposition. Some ordinary shot-selection from the Black Caps made the bowlers look more menacing than they have been over the two test matches. Dhoni’s worry will be the inability to press on the advantage in both test matches after getting quick early wickets. The New Zealand bowling has lacked penetration in almost all innings and they’ve lacked the pace and bounce to hurry the batsmen.

Jesse Ryder

By far the player of the series with one century and one double century. More than the runs it’s the situation and the manner of his batting that has been a joy to watch. The Indians will be spending a lot of time talking about this man in their run up to the game. If the openers can see off the new ball, he can them come in and stamp his authority on the game

Bottomline

It’ll come down to the amount of sting in the surface and how well the bowlers on either side use it.

New Zealand will look to prey on the familiar Indian frailties in seaming conditions and look to finish the game in three days. India, will look at weathering the storm and bat New Zealand out of the match.

New Zealand will hope that the Indian batsmen adopt a defensive approach expecting snakes in the pitch while looking to draw the game, thus allowing for attacking fields and a constant supply of edges to the slip cordon. However, all the time they’ve spent in the field suggests they’ll need fresh legs. Kyle Mills in place of James Franklin might be the way to go.

For India to win this one, Sehwag will need to come to the party. His challenge will be to cast aside the all-round criticism of his batting and captaincy from the 2nd test. His audacious shot-making might well be what deflates Vettori’s men and make  all the difference.

A rivetting contest awaits.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2009 5:47 pm

    Quite well summed up.
    This is a huge test for India and a win here would mean conquering the jinxed New Zealand and a series win here after 41 years.
    Yes, Sehwag came for huge criticism in 2nd test and i expect something special from him in this match. Rarely has he failed in a test series in recent years.
    And India’s biggest concern will be get Ryder. He has looked solid at the crease and exudes so much confidence. If India get him out early, they are in with a good chance to create history

  2. April 2, 2009 9:21 pm

    thanks vyom. agree with you on both those points.

  3. April 2, 2009 10:36 pm

    Great compilation of facts there!

    This match is gonna be one hell of a contest! And if there is some truth in rumors of green tops, then the game is certainly heading towards a heady finish!

  4. April 2, 2009 11:35 pm

    Thanks for visiting our site and liking the work.
    What about adding us to your blogroll as we have you in ours already.
    Our IPL coverage is going to be bigger and better than last year.
    Do check out the IPL Team Analysis in 3 parts for this years IPL. It was put up just after the auction. Just click on the IPL label and check it out, if u have not already

    And we will bring the revised analysis, with considerations to change of venue very soon.

    Cheers.. Keep visiting us..

  5. April 3, 2009 8:00 pm

    thanks for the dekko vyom. will certainly check out the team profiles. have added you to the blogroll.

    Cheers!

  6. Vinod Parameswaran permalink
    April 10, 2009 8:48 am

    Hi-nice writeups, keep it up. As an Indian Aucklander-now that the indian team has left, feels like a massive vacuum in my life-saw the Auckland and hamilton odi’s, saw the test matches @ hamilton and napier-the experience in viewing tests at the grounds is fantastic-the ambience/atmosphere created by the fans was so special….first time viewing tests for me-Test cricket rox…!
    Cheerio…! 🙂

    • April 10, 2009 3:53 pm

      thanks vinod! 🙂 I envy that you were there to watch tendulkar masterclass of 160. Here’s hoping for many more.

      Cheers
      donthaveaclue

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