Patel banks on New Zealand's ability to fight
Jeetan Patel, the New Zealand offspinner, has said his side can "fight" and come back in the Hyderabad Test despite needing another 133 runs to avoid the follow-on with all the specialist batsmen dismissed.
"We have got the opportunity tomorrow," Jeetan said. "Face the music, and fight - what we know the best. The best thing about the Kiwi cricketers is we know how to fight. We have been in a lot of situations where we had to fight. Tomorrow is a good chance for the guys to get back in."
While Jeetan was hopeful of a comeback, R Ashwin, his India counterpart, said the home side would have an eye on enforcing the follow-on if New Zealand were to get dismissed early tomorrow."With respect to how the wicket is behaving and it being a little bit cloudy, I think we should be looking to bowl twice and get the job done," Ashwin said.
The pitch did not deteriorate much on the second day but there was a lot of bounce and some turn for the India spinners. Patel said New Zealand were expecting the pitch to behave the way it did. "I think the wicket has changed a little bit. But it's still slow and low with the seamers. It is taking more turn, probably a little more than we expected, such as an under-prepared wicket, and we expected that."
Despite knowing that, New Zealand could not handle the Indian spinners, losing Martin Guptill to Ashwin's first delivery and Brendon McCullum to Pragyan Ojha's third ball. Ashwin and Ojha claimed all five New Zealand wickets to fall today. "It is disappointing. It's as simple as that," Jeetan said. "They bowled some good balls and we nicked them. That is what happens in cricket. It's tough. It was always going to be a hard tour for us bowling first up on a wicket that does not help you."
Not that Jeetan did badly when he bowled. India usually target the opposition spinner, but Jeetan was difficult to get away, and ended with 4 for 100 in 41 overs. Bowling to a 6-3 on-side field right through, he restricted run-scoring opportunities, and three of his four wickets came when batsmen tried to hit out. With Daniel Vettori being New Zealand's lead spinner, this is only Jeetan's 14th Test since making his debut in 2006, and he spoke about making the most whenever he got the chance.
"There aren't too many opportunities when I get to play Test cricket, so when I do, I got to put my hand up. I want to contribute and get wins for us. Obviously, getting a four-for is nice but I will have to get more than that to get us over the line."
Jeetan said he had a made a few adjustments, both technical and mental, and was now enjoying his game more. "A couple of years ago, I made a couple of changes to my action and my mental approach to the game is different now. I'm trying to enjoy a lot more the moments that I play as opposed to looking at it as if it is my last moment. That sort of mental attitude has put me in the forefront of what's happening rather than what has happened. Getting an opportunity in county cricket [for Warwickshire] was very good for me. I needed four months of just bowling as many overs as I could."
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo