Ryder unlikely to bowl in Hyderabad Test
Jesse Ryder is likely to play only as a batsman in the second Test in Hyderabad as he recovers from a stiffness in his calf that prevented him from bowling in India's second innings at Motera.
"Jesse's getting better," Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, said after an afternoon practice session on a particularly hot day. "I don't think he will bowl in this Test match but he will be available to bat."
New Zealand played only four frontline bowlers in the first Test - Chris Martin, Hamish Bennett, Jeetan Patel and Vettori - and used Ryder's medium-pace to fill the fifth bowler's slot. Ryder bowled 17 overs in the first innings and broke an opening partnership that was scoring at five an over by bowling Gautam Gambhir.
Apart from Ryder's unavailability as a bowling option, New Zealand have also had to replace Bennett, who flew home with a groin problem. Bennett bowled only 15 overs, all of them in the first-innings, in Ahmedabad, and his spot in the squad was taken by allrounder James Franklin.
Franklin bowls at a brisk medium-pace and, should he be in the XI in Ahmedabad, it's unlikely that that the Bennett-Franklin swap will be the only change as that would leave New Zealand light on seam-bowling options. Andy McKay or Tim Southee could get a look in as the second seamer alongside Martin, with Franklin providing the third seam-bowling option. If that is the case, though, New Zealand will have to make a change in the middle order to accommodate Franklin. There don't appear to be any middle-order vacancies, though, with New Zealand's most vulnerable batsmen - Tim McIntosh and BJ Watling - occupying the No. 1 and 3 slots.
Another option is to do away with the two-spinner strategy and bring in Franklin for offspinner Jeetan Patel but it will be a brave move to take on the formidable Indian batting with only four proper bowling options. "We'll certainly look at it [two spinners] for this game. The wicket obviously is reasonably flat but it will have a little more pace in it than the one in Ahmedabad," Vettori said. "India have done it for a long time and been successful with it but that doesn't necessarily mean it will work for us. We have to replace Hamish Bennett anyway so we'll have a look at all our seamers and see what the right combination is."
New Zealand's three-man attack, however, did just fine without Ryder and Bennett on the fourth evening in Ahmedabad, when Martin skittled out the Indian top order, reducing the innings to 15 for 5. The lack of bowling options, though, was evident on the final day when Vettori used Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, who had never bowled in first-class or List A cricket before, for 10.4 overs between them. Taylor, however, managed two wickets and although the hosts batted their way to safety, they were dismissed for a second time in the Test, a feat that was considered beyond this New Zealand attack.
"I think that's the big challenge for teams coming to India - to take 20 wickets - because of how formidable the batting line-up is and also the nature of the wickets. We managed to do it in the first Test but that's been and gone. We have to do it in this one and that's our aim. Whatever conditions we come across we have to take 20 wickets."