India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 2nd day November 13, 2010

Patient India wear down New Zealand

ESPNcricinfo staff
A wait-first-and-capitalise-later approach did the trick on the second day for the home side
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India are well placed for "moving day." It's what their bowling coach Eric Simons called days three and four, when the Test takes large strides towards its conclusion. And it was a patient wearing down of New Zealand, rather than a concerted attack, that allowed India to control the pace of the game and reach a position from where a strong batting performance on Sunday will give them command of the match.

To achieve that, India used fields that weren't popular. Harbhajan Singh began spells, even his first of the day, with a deep point and a long-off. In what appeared to be reactionary tactics, MS Dhoni sent fielders to protect the boundary immediately after Jesse Ryder or Tim Southee slogged Pragyan Ojha in a particular direction. Zaheer Khan had a third slip at the start of the day but watched an edge from Ryder fly wide of second slip in the seventh over.

On Friday, the fields for Tim McIntosh had not been attacking either and singles were easily available as the batsman nudged and pushed his way through the nineties to his second international century. Martin Guptill, who was fighting to secure a Test berth, even spoke of his relief at some of the fields set because they allowed him to "just push it around and get off strike here and there."

India always had men in catching positions, though - a permutation of a couple of slips, a short leg, a silly point and a leg slip, waiting for the edge. But between them and the men in the deep, there were expanses of grass with singles for the taking. These in-and-out fields are the vogue and, on pitches where assistance for bowlers is minimal and shot-making is easy, they are effective because they keep the bowling side in the game for longer by controlling the run-rate, even if the wickets aren't forthcoming. So despite India's struggle for breakthroughs on day one, New Zealand managed only 258 and were only an early wicket or two away on the second morning from falling behind.

And fall they did. Zaheer struck two momentum-wresting blows in the first half-hour after which Harbhajan capitalised to finish with four wickets. Everyone was caught at the wicket, lbw or stumped. Persevere for the breakthroughs, but let's also keep New Zealand's scoring in check, was the formula. New Zealand lost six wickets for 92 runs and ended with 350, a total Ryder felt wasn't enough. "I think we are a good hundred runs short from what we wanted after the start we had yesterday," he said at the end of play.

We are a good hundred runs short from what we wanted after the start we had yesterday
Jesse Ryder

India's wait-first-and-capitalise-later approach didn't end there. Perhaps wary of the havoc Chris Martin had caused in the second innings in Ahmedabad, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir fought through a testing period with the new ball. Both batsmen struggled as Martin swung the ball in and Southee moved it out from tight lines and lengths. The openers attempted a few shots and were beaten but they stuck it out until the bowlers tired in the heat and their discipline wavered.

Sehwag, who had pottered to 2 off 23 balls, got going soon after a change of bat in the eighth over. Gambhir, in the middle of a slump, attempted to emulate his partner with an unsuccessful waft outside off stump. Sehwag met him mid pitch immediately after and spoke while his partner listened.

In the 16th over, after he had struggled to 16 off 48 deliveries, Gambhir played his first convincing shot on the off side - a cover drive against Southee - after which he looked up at the skies and said a few things to himself. Soon, his feet began to move smoothly, he began to place balls in gaps, and though he never matched Sehwag's fluency, Gambhir had fought his way through a rut and was part of a century opening partnership for the first time since Dhaka in January. When Sehwag brought up India's 100 with a drive through cover off Vettori, the batsmen met mid-pitch and punched gloves to celebrate. They would do so again a while later, when Gambhir steered Southee to the third-man boundary to reach his fifty.

Gambhir and Sehwag eventually fell in successive overs - the 41st and 42nd - but because India had already knocked 160 off New Zealand's total, the visitors will need a few more quick strikes on moving day to bring the Test back into balance.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jim1207 on November 14, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    From today onwards, Daniel Vettori would be acting on the advice of first_slip only, even if nobody is standing in that position.

  • first_slip on November 14, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Oh my god, Daniel Vettori ! what you have done? you shouldn't have teken Shewag's wicket when he is on 96, you should have let him get the hundred, Indian Cry babies must be furious with you, oh god what have you done Daniel? dont you know the rules? believe me it was big mistake mate

  • praveenahathwarkn on November 14, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    @Ian316- Yes definitely the 'asses' will begin . Contest without world's no 1 team is like 2 teams playing to survive in cricket. And srilankan's are lion in home and no need to tell outside.

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    @Ian316 What is rubbish in this? Sehwag's exciting stroke play? Or Scoring 178 runs in 49 overs? As for the Ashes it's gonna be a cakewalk for England. Read the other article about Aus selectors' head aches. They don't know who to pick coz everyone is out of form!

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    @Ian316. I think you are forgetting the India-Aus test series which Aus lost 2-0 is a very closely contested series.

  • on November 14, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    India now has the platform to push ahead in the test. The scoring rate hereon has to be 4 runs per over and India should ensure that they bat only once in this test. Good chance for Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman to get big scores and get Raina and Dhoni to bash the ball later to set up a good target for the Kiwis. However, the team that tore apart Shane Warne is not so comfortable against Vettori. Chris Martin and made a good start but is still new and needs to prove his consistency.

    The first session of the game on the third day would be decisive as to which way the game is heading.

  • Ian316 on November 13, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    I cant believe that this is the no. 1 test team in action. What rubbish cricket? Typical over-rated, over paid bunch who think they are gods.... Keep it up guys!!! Can't wait for the ases to begin. At least there might be some interesting cricket on display

  • spin_king4 on November 13, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    @rumy1 stop living in the past 1) kaif has been tried and failed and does not deserve a place in this side again as their are others preforming better and at at the moment rraina deserves his run because of his good form 2) jaffer is again a tried and failed who with no feet movement would fail on any pitch that was not a flat indian wicket (would not have scored any runs against martin and co on this pitch that had some bounce)

  • cricketkkrazy on November 13, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    You know why india became no1 and why other countries in sub continent couldnt achieve it.Bcoz india focussed on becoming no1 whereas other countries like srilanka,pakistan,bangladesh(they are no1 from last.....lol) focussed on criticizing india n bcci(May be they are jealous on india's cricketing talent and bcci's super power and also IPL)

  • on November 13, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    @Rumy1: And you should be the captain and selector of India, South Africa, Australia and umm.. lets say even Pakistan - all at the same time !! We trust you - to lead all of these teams at the same time, simaltaneously in matches across the globe.

  • Jim1207 on November 14, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    From today onwards, Daniel Vettori would be acting on the advice of first_slip only, even if nobody is standing in that position.

  • first_slip on November 14, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Oh my god, Daniel Vettori ! what you have done? you shouldn't have teken Shewag's wicket when he is on 96, you should have let him get the hundred, Indian Cry babies must be furious with you, oh god what have you done Daniel? dont you know the rules? believe me it was big mistake mate

  • praveenahathwarkn on November 14, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    @Ian316- Yes definitely the 'asses' will begin . Contest without world's no 1 team is like 2 teams playing to survive in cricket. And srilankan's are lion in home and no need to tell outside.

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    @Ian316 What is rubbish in this? Sehwag's exciting stroke play? Or Scoring 178 runs in 49 overs? As for the Ashes it's gonna be a cakewalk for England. Read the other article about Aus selectors' head aches. They don't know who to pick coz everyone is out of form!

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    @Ian316. I think you are forgetting the India-Aus test series which Aus lost 2-0 is a very closely contested series.

  • on November 14, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    India now has the platform to push ahead in the test. The scoring rate hereon has to be 4 runs per over and India should ensure that they bat only once in this test. Good chance for Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman to get big scores and get Raina and Dhoni to bash the ball later to set up a good target for the Kiwis. However, the team that tore apart Shane Warne is not so comfortable against Vettori. Chris Martin and made a good start but is still new and needs to prove his consistency.

    The first session of the game on the third day would be decisive as to which way the game is heading.

  • Ian316 on November 13, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    I cant believe that this is the no. 1 test team in action. What rubbish cricket? Typical over-rated, over paid bunch who think they are gods.... Keep it up guys!!! Can't wait for the ases to begin. At least there might be some interesting cricket on display

  • spin_king4 on November 13, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    @rumy1 stop living in the past 1) kaif has been tried and failed and does not deserve a place in this side again as their are others preforming better and at at the moment rraina deserves his run because of his good form 2) jaffer is again a tried and failed who with no feet movement would fail on any pitch that was not a flat indian wicket (would not have scored any runs against martin and co on this pitch that had some bounce)

  • cricketkkrazy on November 13, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    You know why india became no1 and why other countries in sub continent couldnt achieve it.Bcoz india focussed on becoming no1 whereas other countries like srilanka,pakistan,bangladesh(they are no1 from last.....lol) focussed on criticizing india n bcci(May be they are jealous on india's cricketing talent and bcci's super power and also IPL)

  • on November 13, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    @Rumy1: And you should be the captain and selector of India, South Africa, Australia and umm.. lets say even Pakistan - all at the same time !! We trust you - to lead all of these teams at the same time, simaltaneously in matches across the globe.

  • on November 13, 2010, 21:12 GMT

    No doubt patience pays the best, Indian batsmen played with patience on a bouncy wicket as they donot have other option due to unavailability of such kind of pitches in India. The other thing is that GG isn't in his best form, Viru had twin responsibility. First to stable the Indian innings and secondly to take GG safely along.

  • Jim1207 on November 13, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    @Mayan: Why do most of the sri lankans are after India being world no. 1? What logic is that India needs to be no2 if NZ draws the series? If your country does not get fair amount of chance, it must not affect your ranking. Ranking is based on points per match, so even if SL plays 10 matches less, they should be able to achieve the points India gets with flat pitches. It is definitely easier to achieve better average playeing 10 matches less than more matches. I think you should worry about your team getting no.1 position and not about another team being brought down from no.1 position. Your team had many such chances to do exactly that in past 1 year against India, but could not do that. Is it so hard to digest that fact yet, even after all these months!?

  • Rumy1 on November 13, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • on November 13, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    @Mayan Bangladeshis won by wickets that were overly spin friendly for the home side and a nightmare for the visitors. Scoring 200 was hard on those wickets and there was 0 bounce for the fast-bowlers. This is a more sporting wicket and a result is for certain, one thats gonna be in favor of India. And as always, we have Bangladeshis boasting about a once in a blue-moon series win and feeling like they just won the world cup and talking as if India are the under-dogs!

  • on November 13, 2010, 17:39 GMT

    lol no one will comment on gambhir no worries these ppl r only behind dravid for no fault of his anyways hope india continues their run and extend their lead the slow over rates disrupted things sad

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 13, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    Watch Rahul Dravid bat today...I am sure he would play positively and not create pressure on himself and others. Or is too much to ask?

  • NeoTheSaviour on November 13, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    Indian bowling is really poor. Apart from Zaheer there is no one deserving in No 1 teams bowling attack. Viru is the Prime reason India is wining many matches these days. Hope tomorrow Master is in attacking mood, It was really frustrating to watch him giving undue respect to poor NZ bowling in his innings of 40 odds( in first test).

  • SnowSnake on November 13, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    NZ has found a silly formula to score runs by maintaining strike rate below 3.0 rpo. At this rate, the best outcome NZ can hope for is a draw. Gambhir's strike rate is OK because NZ strike rate is low and he is just trying to get back in the game after a long recovery. Low strike rates (below 50% or 3 rpo.) are for the underdogs trying to save a match or a batsman trying to gain confidence.

  • on November 13, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    well if dis series gonna be a draw.. india will have to withdraw there number 1 spot.. they cant beat that Funny looking NZ.. (bd whitewashed them), india already lost something having finish the 1 draw... by the way. wt a inning is gambhir played . LOL

  • Bengali-Tiger007 on November 13, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    Yeah hopefully the Kiwis will wrap them up 2moro and have a 2nd innings lead. Best of luck to the black caps!!!!

  • D.Sharma on November 13, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    And now we'll see some silly people commenting on Gambhir's strike-rate!!!

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  • D.Sharma on November 13, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    And now we'll see some silly people commenting on Gambhir's strike-rate!!!

  • Bengali-Tiger007 on November 13, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    Yeah hopefully the Kiwis will wrap them up 2moro and have a 2nd innings lead. Best of luck to the black caps!!!!

  • on November 13, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    well if dis series gonna be a draw.. india will have to withdraw there number 1 spot.. they cant beat that Funny looking NZ.. (bd whitewashed them), india already lost something having finish the 1 draw... by the way. wt a inning is gambhir played . LOL

  • SnowSnake on November 13, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    NZ has found a silly formula to score runs by maintaining strike rate below 3.0 rpo. At this rate, the best outcome NZ can hope for is a draw. Gambhir's strike rate is OK because NZ strike rate is low and he is just trying to get back in the game after a long recovery. Low strike rates (below 50% or 3 rpo.) are for the underdogs trying to save a match or a batsman trying to gain confidence.

  • NeoTheSaviour on November 13, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    Indian bowling is really poor. Apart from Zaheer there is no one deserving in No 1 teams bowling attack. Viru is the Prime reason India is wining many matches these days. Hope tomorrow Master is in attacking mood, It was really frustrating to watch him giving undue respect to poor NZ bowling in his innings of 40 odds( in first test).

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 13, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    Watch Rahul Dravid bat today...I am sure he would play positively and not create pressure on himself and others. Or is too much to ask?

  • on November 13, 2010, 17:39 GMT

    lol no one will comment on gambhir no worries these ppl r only behind dravid for no fault of his anyways hope india continues their run and extend their lead the slow over rates disrupted things sad

  • on November 13, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    @Mayan Bangladeshis won by wickets that were overly spin friendly for the home side and a nightmare for the visitors. Scoring 200 was hard on those wickets and there was 0 bounce for the fast-bowlers. This is a more sporting wicket and a result is for certain, one thats gonna be in favor of India. And as always, we have Bangladeshis boasting about a once in a blue-moon series win and feeling like they just won the world cup and talking as if India are the under-dogs!

  • Rumy1 on November 13, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • Jim1207 on November 13, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    @Mayan: Why do most of the sri lankans are after India being world no. 1? What logic is that India needs to be no2 if NZ draws the series? If your country does not get fair amount of chance, it must not affect your ranking. Ranking is based on points per match, so even if SL plays 10 matches less, they should be able to achieve the points India gets with flat pitches. It is definitely easier to achieve better average playeing 10 matches less than more matches. I think you should worry about your team getting no.1 position and not about another team being brought down from no.1 position. Your team had many such chances to do exactly that in past 1 year against India, but could not do that. Is it so hard to digest that fact yet, even after all these months!?