India in New Zealand 2013-14 February 12, 2014

More grass and pace awaits India

63

Tim Southee was asked whether he could tell the pitch from the outfield at the Basin Reserve. He smiled, saying it was "tough" to do so at the moment. You had to squint to make out the pitch from the boundary. It was the slightly thinner grass rectangle amid all the green. Much before the start of the India tour, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson had demanded green, seaming pitches for the visitors.

The pitch in Auckland for the first Test had some grass cover, but it eased out considerably after only one session. There is still some time to go for the start of the second and final Test, and there is no saying whether all the grass on it will stay, but this one is likely to do a lot more than the drop-in surface at Eden Park.

There has been some rain in Wellington past few days, and pitch preparation has not been ideal. It also means there will be at least some moisture underneath that grass going into the Test, even though days are warm and long at this time of the year. The last Test at the Basin a couple of months ago lasted three days, as West Indies were shot out for 193 and 175 to lose by an innings.

Brett Sipthorpe, the curator, said he was targeting a similar pitch for India. "It's had good pace and bounce in it this summer and basically we're aiming for exactly what we had for the West Indies one," Sipthorpe told local media. "That was nice and bouncy and had a little bit of nip around, which suits the seamers."

The pitch didn't have a massive role to play in West Indies' demolition, though. They won the toss, sent New Zealand to bat and found that the surface wasn't going to do everything for them. They could not bowl fuller lengths consistently, they could not hold their catches, and Ross Taylor's century lifted New Zealand to 441. When their turn came, the West Indies batsmen kept playing strokes and kept succumbing, especially to Trent Boult's considerable inswing.

Boult picked up ten wickets in that Test, and swing will be another factor to contend with in Wellington. The famed wind is always a challenge, although Southee said when there was too much of it, swing ceased to be as much of a factor. "I think when it is too windy or gusty, it is hard to swing," Southee said. "When it is a nice still day, it tends to swing a little bit more, but those are few and far between. It is one of those grounds where the wind is a massive factor and you have to get used to it quickly."

MS Dhoni also mentioned the wind aspect after the Auckland Test, saying it would lead to a "few exciting things", although his assessment of it assisting swing was at odds with Southee's. "It is a very windy place, which means the fast bowlers may get a bit of swing," Dhoni said. "Faster outfield so the scoring can be quite easy if you are hitting with the wind."

When India played a Test here on their 2009 trip, which they would have likely won but for rain on the final day, the pitch was not as green. When asked about the Wellington pitch this time after the Auckland Test, Dhoni said he preferred greener surfaces, which his fast bowlers could utilise.

"I always complain when we get wickets that are on the drier side and don't assist the fast bowlers too much," Dhoni said. "That is where we struggle to some extent. I personally always like when we are playing outside the subcontinent, a greener wicket as it assists our fast bowlers and they can get the opposition out which means it will be testing for our batsmen but I always prefer it that way."

At the moment, Dhoni's wishes also seem to have been answered along with Hesson's. The pitch is abundantly green two days before the Test, but how much of the grass will stay? The curator seemed to suggest most of it would. "It just depends on what the weather brings us. If we have to take a little more off we will, but we don't want to lose our pace and grass cover is pace," Sipthorpe said. "We'll do everything we can to try to keep as much grass on as we possibly can."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • IndianSRTfan on February 13, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    Good to see NZ preparing green and pacy tracks. India's young batting lineup will learn tons from this exposure and will be better off for it.

    However I have one small gripe here. NZ are well within their rights to prepare a pitch to suit their strengths at home. However had it been an Indian curator, captain or coach preparing/asking for turning tracks, all hell would have broken loose. A green-top nullifies spinners' role just as much as a square turner nullifies fast bowlers. Double standards need to be abolished for good here

    Somehow people from Eng/Aus/NZ/SA seem unable to make a distinction between a square turner and a flat track. As long as a pitch isn't flat as a road for a test match, it's well and good.

    So kiwis, good on you for making a green top. But (this is not a threat at all) when you visit India next, and I hope it happens more often, and you are greeted with a rank turner, have the grace to appreciate the different conditions and unique challenges. GL NZ & IND.

  • imtiazjaleel on February 13, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    dhawan, vijay, pujara, kohli, rohit, dhoni, jadeja, zaheer, shami, ishwar, ishant should be the team to play. I believe we should go with four fast bowlers, so that they can give 100% in each of their spell. Dhoni should used them in short spells of 4 overs each.

  • Santyment on February 13, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    Ishwar Pandey was bought by CSK for 1.5 crore....lol and Dhoni said he is not prepared, it was all to keep him uncapped to buy cheaply, still got good price. Now he is a CSK guy and every chance of being picked in this Test match...Cheap politics and that too ahead of national pride, Dhoni is more worried about his franchise than team India. Ishwar is best in current lot of bowlers and he has proved this in South Africa and warm up match in current series still not picked..just to buy him uncapped with less money...India is not playing with in-form players in this series just because of favoritism...

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    I bet Dhoni will play the same 11. India will win the toss and bowl. Nz will make 500 and this time mcullum will enforce the follow on and India will lose in 3 and the half day. No new players will be tried in the bowling department. Now all the focus on the IPL and worldT20.

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    @ ShanNachimuthu on (February 13, 2014, 4:16 GMT) - Agree with your sentiments. India requires more bowlers and they also need to inject more pace. Would love to see Yadav, Aaron and Shami bowl in tandem, at full throttle. However, Aaron is not in the Test squad so let's give Ishwar Pandey a go. I have a feeling that the Indian "think-tank" will get carried away with the second innings bowling performance and employ the same bowlers! It has worked once in many tests and the weaknesses are all too apparent. They need to make the big calls and implement the required changes.

  • ShanNachimuthu on February 13, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Need to strengthen the bowling department. My choice of XI, Dhawan, Rahane, Pujara, Kholi, Dhoni, Rohit, Jadeja, Ishwar, Ishant, Shami, Umesh. Jadeja is included as a batman who can bowl a bit. You don't need extra bastman if you enough have bowlers to bowl NZ out less than 250. Having extra batsman in this seaming condition will not make any big difference. So, treat Jadeja as a batsman and he can even be asked open the innings with Dhawan. He looks fearless while batting and very good fielder. If he clicks as opener it will be a huge boost for India. Zak looking tired after bowling couple of overs. He needs a rest (!!!). This is one last opportunity to test our bench strength in bowling. So, Team India whatever happened we have no control over that to alter it. Learn from it and leave it. But we can control the future. So put up a fight and give your best. Let Dhoni loose the toss time and leave the headache of deciding what to do to NZ.

  • dogandbone on February 13, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    India,

    makes no difference if you don't have someone at first slip who can catch ...two in one game...sitters...unless that changes, the game will be over in three days.

  • SameOld on February 13, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Bit of risk either way here for NZ. Too green and you bring the Indian seamers, who look ordinary when it's flat, into the game. Too flat, and it's going to be tough to dismiss Kohli and co. twice.

    Personally, I'd shave it, back the NZ seamers to outbowl the Indians, and protect the NZ batsmen a bit.

  • Viratkohlirocks on February 13, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    Whover is saying Rahane cant play outside subcontinent, check out his home and away averags. I think home is like 4 something, while away is above 50

  • dogandbone on February 13, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    no Taylor to prop up the middle order is a worry for NZ...Good luck to the new guys but man there appears to be a lot of pressure now on Williamson and McCullum to see it through....Hope not another SA/ England / Eden Park batting effort. The good thing I suppose, is those low scores are getting higher each time so progress is being made for sure.

  • IndianSRTfan on February 13, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    Good to see NZ preparing green and pacy tracks. India's young batting lineup will learn tons from this exposure and will be better off for it.

    However I have one small gripe here. NZ are well within their rights to prepare a pitch to suit their strengths at home. However had it been an Indian curator, captain or coach preparing/asking for turning tracks, all hell would have broken loose. A green-top nullifies spinners' role just as much as a square turner nullifies fast bowlers. Double standards need to be abolished for good here

    Somehow people from Eng/Aus/NZ/SA seem unable to make a distinction between a square turner and a flat track. As long as a pitch isn't flat as a road for a test match, it's well and good.

    So kiwis, good on you for making a green top. But (this is not a threat at all) when you visit India next, and I hope it happens more often, and you are greeted with a rank turner, have the grace to appreciate the different conditions and unique challenges. GL NZ & IND.

  • imtiazjaleel on February 13, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    dhawan, vijay, pujara, kohli, rohit, dhoni, jadeja, zaheer, shami, ishwar, ishant should be the team to play. I believe we should go with four fast bowlers, so that they can give 100% in each of their spell. Dhoni should used them in short spells of 4 overs each.

  • Santyment on February 13, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    Ishwar Pandey was bought by CSK for 1.5 crore....lol and Dhoni said he is not prepared, it was all to keep him uncapped to buy cheaply, still got good price. Now he is a CSK guy and every chance of being picked in this Test match...Cheap politics and that too ahead of national pride, Dhoni is more worried about his franchise than team India. Ishwar is best in current lot of bowlers and he has proved this in South Africa and warm up match in current series still not picked..just to buy him uncapped with less money...India is not playing with in-form players in this series just because of favoritism...

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    I bet Dhoni will play the same 11. India will win the toss and bowl. Nz will make 500 and this time mcullum will enforce the follow on and India will lose in 3 and the half day. No new players will be tried in the bowling department. Now all the focus on the IPL and worldT20.

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    @ ShanNachimuthu on (February 13, 2014, 4:16 GMT) - Agree with your sentiments. India requires more bowlers and they also need to inject more pace. Would love to see Yadav, Aaron and Shami bowl in tandem, at full throttle. However, Aaron is not in the Test squad so let's give Ishwar Pandey a go. I have a feeling that the Indian "think-tank" will get carried away with the second innings bowling performance and employ the same bowlers! It has worked once in many tests and the weaknesses are all too apparent. They need to make the big calls and implement the required changes.

  • ShanNachimuthu on February 13, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Need to strengthen the bowling department. My choice of XI, Dhawan, Rahane, Pujara, Kholi, Dhoni, Rohit, Jadeja, Ishwar, Ishant, Shami, Umesh. Jadeja is included as a batman who can bowl a bit. You don't need extra bastman if you enough have bowlers to bowl NZ out less than 250. Having extra batsman in this seaming condition will not make any big difference. So, treat Jadeja as a batsman and he can even be asked open the innings with Dhawan. He looks fearless while batting and very good fielder. If he clicks as opener it will be a huge boost for India. Zak looking tired after bowling couple of overs. He needs a rest (!!!). This is one last opportunity to test our bench strength in bowling. So, Team India whatever happened we have no control over that to alter it. Learn from it and leave it. But we can control the future. So put up a fight and give your best. Let Dhoni loose the toss time and leave the headache of deciding what to do to NZ.

  • dogandbone on February 13, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    India,

    makes no difference if you don't have someone at first slip who can catch ...two in one game...sitters...unless that changes, the game will be over in three days.

  • SameOld on February 13, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Bit of risk either way here for NZ. Too green and you bring the Indian seamers, who look ordinary when it's flat, into the game. Too flat, and it's going to be tough to dismiss Kohli and co. twice.

    Personally, I'd shave it, back the NZ seamers to outbowl the Indians, and protect the NZ batsmen a bit.

  • Viratkohlirocks on February 13, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    Whover is saying Rahane cant play outside subcontinent, check out his home and away averags. I think home is like 4 something, while away is above 50

  • dogandbone on February 13, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    no Taylor to prop up the middle order is a worry for NZ...Good luck to the new guys but man there appears to be a lot of pressure now on Williamson and McCullum to see it through....Hope not another SA/ England / Eden Park batting effort. The good thing I suppose, is those low scores are getting higher each time so progress is being made for sure.

  • Sam_M234324 on February 13, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    I'm scared that this is going to backfire massively... With no Taylor our batting lineup barring Williamson and possibly Watling looks incredibly frail and is yet to really perform against good swing / seam bowling (second innings Eden Park anyone?), which Khan Sharma and no doubt Shami will produce. Luckily the jury is out on how capable the Indian batsmen barring Pujara and Kohli are in the same conditions. No doubt Boult and Southee will be very testing. I think this is going to come down to a battle of who gets skittled for slightly more runs as with the Hobart test we won... Hard to pick a favourite but I'm hoping like hell the Black Caps can tough it out!

  • joelucky on February 13, 2014, 0:34 GMT

    Grass is welcome. Play both Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron, remove Ishant Sharma. Would love to see the Kiwi batsmen fending awkwardly or stumps go flying. They won't boast about green tracks or grass once that happens. Two can play the game.

  • on February 13, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    What on earth? "I always complain when we get wickets that are on the drier side and don't assist the fast bowlers too much," Dhoni said. "That is where we struggle to some extent. I personally always like when we are playing outside the subcontinent, a greener wicket as it assists our fast bowlers and they can get the opposition out which means it will be testing for our batsmen but I always prefer it that way."??

    I hope he thinks we (Black Caps and Kiwis) believe this.... and even more that he actually does. But, either way, it is pure nonsense. And we won't be browning up this pitch up for you anytime soon as we may well be going in with 5 pace bowlers. Nothing new to see here... just purest delusion! Dhoni, you need to KNOW HOW to bowl on a greenish pitch - not using doctored roads in India will help you. Anyway, do not want to jinx this game. So, I will say good luck to both teams.. play hard and go the Black Caps!! The country is behind you 100% boys!

  • sussexsunrisers on February 12, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    Interesting to see the selections made by both teams. Nampally's point of four Indian pacers and Jadeja as a spinning all rounder is very well but on a bowling friendly surface with the likes of Southee, Boult and Wagner, can the Indians really afford to weaken their batting? Conversely, if the kiwis opt for an extra pacer then whilst their bowling no doubt suits the conditions, they do lose a dimension in attacking the Indian batsmen. Whilst Sodhi is not as accomplished as the other bowlers in the kiwi attack and world spinners, the playing of a spinner with four pacers at least gives variation to an attack. Five pacers, if the Indians get their eyes in against pacers then suddenly only Kane Williamson offers a change in tactics. Equally, who would the kiwis pick as the other seamer. Milne's pace is certainly dangerous but he lacks control and experience. Potentially Kyle Mills, with control and experience in international cricket despite a lack of tests could be a possiibility.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 12, 2014, 22:07 GMT

    On a pitch like this, where the ball is going to swing a lot, India has to go with 4 seamers. If it means dropping Jadeja or Rahane, so be it. Bhuvi and Shami are a must for this pitch. Dhoni will always select Ishant and Zak, so that should make India's pace quartet.

  • Lodhisingh on February 12, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    @fair_paly_1, mate NO TEAM has won an away series last year. not even SA.

  • vrkp on February 12, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    My xi

    Dhawan, vijay, pujara, kohli, rohit, dhoni, jadeja, Zak, ishant, shami, yadav.

    Whoever plays,they shd forget bowling short pitch bowling.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 12, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    One should appreciate the guts of the Kiwi Curator (after seeing his team getting rolled over for 100 in the previous test), to prepare a green pitch. India will win this easily if there is grass on the pitch. Just wait and see.

  • RiscoGrande on February 12, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    Its only green because its been raining in Wellington and has had to be under covers for a week. The curator will actually be trying to make the best pitch he can but weather has not allowed him top make it as hard as he would like

  • HopefulIndianCricFan2 on February 12, 2014, 20:01 GMT

    I think India will go on to loose this game. I am sure Indian fans will forget this when IPL fanfare rolls out. We will remain flat track bullies and get butchered on grassy & pacy pitches!

    I don't think Rohit, Vijay and Rahane are suited for non-sub continent matches. May be we should have a core team say Dhoni, Virat, Dhawan, Pujara, Zaheer (though I don't think he will last long) for all Tests and then add players that are good on flat tracks for subcontinent matches and have different set of players for outside subcontinent.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on February 12, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Well as cricket fans that is exactly what we want , when we tour outside we want to see fast , bouncy swinging conditions and when teams tour India they should know they will be tested with spin and reverse swing , and this exactly is what makes cricket so spectacular , at least for me !

  • Nampally on February 12, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    Dhoni has to take a page out of NZ's way of XI selection - at least 4 pace bowlers. Yadev can bowl at >140 KPH. Get him in the XI to support ZAK, Shami & Ishant. Use Jadeja & Rohit Sharma + Dhawan, as spinners. Go with Dhawan, Kohli, Pujara & Rohit as 4 main batsmen. Either Vijay or alternates- Ashwin/Rahane, can open the innings. But 4 pace bowlers are needed - 4th bowler can be Pandey or Yadev. Also it must be known that the Indian pace bowlers are quicker- they only need to bowl like they did in the second innings of the First Test. As for batting the openers must do their role. Indian batsmen should learn to leave the balls outside the Off stump especially with the new ball well alone. Tire the Bowlers & then Tear them. It worked fine in SA vs. Steyn & Morkel. Why not in NZ against LH seamers bowling a foot outside the off stump?Also do not fall with short pitch balls. In a 5 day test there is ample time. Keep leaving them & let the opposition bowlers keep wasting their energy.

  • mgr125128 on February 12, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    So a green pitch is HOME ADVANTAGE now. Would it be HOME ADVANTAGE if India had made turning tracks...I guess it would be UNFAIR ADVANTAGE then ??? NAAAAH?

  • AamirKhan-SuperStar on February 12, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    Phew! Will India get to dictate terms atleast once on this tour? Since the first game they are playing this catchup game, these guys play well when they get to express themselves, but NZ has denied that opportunity to play with freedom to the fearless cricketers of India. Even though bowlers bowled well in 2nd innings onus is yet again on them to restrict NZ for a minimum score which may lift some pressure off the batsmen. Mr. Dhoni there is something called batting first in cricket, i know you aren't bold or should i say confident enough to feel that India can survive the first session without a batting calamity on a green track, but it may well be your last chance to win. And please bring home a victory, i get up at 3.30am just to see you play :-( :-( :-(

  • fair_paly_1 on February 12, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    To think winning at home and keep losing away is pretty much normal is just deluding yourself. If it makes some people happy then fine but it s far from the fact.

    The current No 1 team SA have been winning home and away for the past 18 months or so; hence they are at the top. For the record, England won, previous to this recent Ashes series, in Australia 3-1. In the Ashes history, England have won 14 Ashes series in Australia and lost 17. Australia too have won 14 Ashes series in England and lost 17.

    Now you see reality is so different to some people's natural biased perceptions.

  • on February 12, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    Green top also ensures the match will have a result. That should also please the Indians as they're the ones who are down 1-0 in the series.

  • kalyanbk on February 12, 2014, 17:52 GMT

    Why is it that people complain when there is no help for fast bowlers but do not complain when there is no help for spinners?

  • thunda.masala on February 12, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    @CricketMaan: Very well said. Fans should see the reality instead of foolishly criticizing Indian team.

  • nikhil_indian_fan on February 12, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    a greener pitch with lots of grass means more trouble for the already faltering indian batting line up. well atleast we can hope they get some practice for the world cup....phew

  • pull_shot on February 12, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Its pain to c a player like karthik get 14 crores and pujara got hardly 2 crores is it d same game called cricket both r playing

  • mensan on February 12, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    A greener pitch will be interesting. Fast bowlers on both sides will enjoy it.

  • DingDong420 on February 12, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    It will be good for Indians if they don't play Zaheer / Ishant and play Yadav and Pandey. If Jadeja is going to play as fifth bowler then Rahane needs to be dropped for this game. 4 pacers is amust

  • hnlns on February 12, 2014, 16:10 GMT

    This news about a seamer-friendly surface must delight Indian bowlers, especially Shami who bowled with such intensity in the second innings at Auckland. It would be good for India to bring in Ishwar Pandey because he has shown lots of promise. Jadeja can remain as the batsman mainly and also to do the job of lone spinner on this greenish surface. The onus is on India to come back strongly and draw the series here. They had done pretty well in the Auckland test second innings, so their confidence must be pretty high despite the close defeat there. NZ would be better offl not to draw comparisons between WI and India and remember what happened to them in the second innings at Auckland.

  • CricketMaan on February 12, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    For all supportes and bahsers - This is yet another home team showing familiarity and superiority on home conditions. Same story with England, Aus, and even Pak (UAE) and now NZ. India too win matches at home, yes thier overseas is pathetic, but so it is for many other teams. Aus lost 7-0 on trott and now Eng 5-0. Even SL with many superstarts have never won in more familar Indian conditions or Aus etc. This Indian team has potential but poor experience. Apart from Dhoni none have played in NZ. The problem with Indian teams have always been thier inability to take 20 wickets. Although they did that in Auckland it came at a very high price. If India starts taking 20 wickets overseas, which is still a dream, then they will win matches. Until then the batsmen will have to bear the brunt. An for once please stop hating players for thier employers deeds. Players give it all and deserve respect and support.

  • CricketMaan on February 12, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    So what makes everyone think that Indian bowlers won't get any purchase? Afterall it was NZ that were bowled out for 100 on a much less green pitch. They got out to decent bowling and not just wild slogging to up the run rate! Might even play into Indians hands. Ofcoure the NZ trio are at advantage with a slightly demoralized line up, but maybe the bowling could make up for it.

  • shane-oh on February 12, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    Always an interesting debate. I actually never hear anyone complaining when they go to the subcontinent and find pitches that turn a lot - it's what players from outside expect, and in fact it's good for their development.

  • ABKhanISB on February 12, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    One more defeat is waiting for India. New Zealand is way too good for a team like India

  • fair_paly_1 on February 12, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    Something a little different. It is noticeable that whilst the NZ team wears traditional classic cricket sweaters the Indian team has opted for some kind of jacket. Smart though this jacket is but nothing like the real thing.

    Does anyone know why India has chosen this novel kit?

  • chapathishot on February 12, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    irishhawks: If Indian bowlers gets some assistance they will do well dont forget 105 all out it is the lowest score by both the teams in a good batting wicket.What will happen in green tops ,Pujara had an off test ,If green wickets are prepared India will surely win as they will be able to take 20 wickets cheaply and our batsmen can score the runs also.

  • rhtdm302 on February 12, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    Every Home Team prepares pitches to its advantage, so why is such a hue and cry made when the tracks assist the spinners in India.

  • Nero28 on February 12, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    It is good thinking by Dhoni although the middle order led by him will be flattened down. But what I want is use Pandey or Bhuvi or Yadav in the squad either 3 man or 4 man pace attack. Don't matter if the other bowlers are performing best or not but it will give them a tendem and India will know their bowlers current ability to bowl in green pitch before going to play bigger series in Eng-Aus . They should be given chance and atleast one of the playing should be given rest to maintain the bench strength

  • itsthewayuplay on February 12, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Dhoni should have said that green tops would only suit his bowlers if they make use of it. I have confidence in Shami but it's unfair to expect him to carry the bowling unit. Zaheer has certainly lost a bit of zip and I hope it's not permanent. Ishant's 6 wickets in the first innings definately flattered his figures and whilst he bowled much better in the 2nd innings, I don't NZ will be losing too much sleep over him. Really unfortunate for India that Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yadav are struggling with consistency given their impressive starts to their respective international careers. But I think a surprise could be Jadeja who might find a green top to his liking. He's an intelligent bowler and can adjust his bowling to the conditions. Overall though, NZ has shown it has the better and more consistent pace attack so far, and I expect them that to continue in Wellington but if India bowls like they did in the 2nd innings in Auckland, they can at least be competitive, learn and develop.

  • SaraJahanSeAchha on February 12, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    A green pitch is more likely to assist India with swing than NZ. Look at what happened in NZ second innings and early part of NZ first innings. Had the 2 crucial catches in NZ first innings been held, NZ would have been wrapped up under 200. Where India struggle is with bounce and if the ball bounce is to shoulder height, India will be in all sorts of trouble.

  • on February 12, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    I love how Dhoni claims he wants greener pitches to assist his bowlers, yet no matter where his team goes to play, the curator is pressured to prepare flat, dead pitches.

  • on February 12, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    A series win over India would be huge for the kiwis, even more of a significant result for them than the win over West Indies. Hope they can do it

  • irishhawks on February 12, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    What did Skipper Dhoni Said?? he prefers greener wickets so that his bowlers can run thru opposition!! Man look at overseas record of your pathetic bowlers captain..they have taken collective pledge..of conceding 400 plus runs and then not not being able to defend target of 400 plus!! you are running out of excuses captain and you are running out of time..your captaincy has come near its end.. Your bowlers are over rated and overpaid cricketers..They deserve to be in Zimbabwe rather than playing for India..

  • on February 12, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    India should use Stuart Binny as an all rounder. He can bowl medium pace, which would be useful in the world cup as well.

  • Sultan2007 on February 12, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    Please play with 4 seamers..and Jadeja as the stock bowler. We have to give Umesh his opportunity. Why take him to these wonder seamer friendly countries and not even give him a shot at it? How will we know that he will have the confidence or ability to do well in england in the summer when he has to be one of our key bowlers

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 12, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    India gonna win this and level the series for sure.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 12, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    Stop getting all worked up by talking about square turners and flat tracks. Here is what Dhoni said above:

    "I personally always like when we are playing outside the subcontinent, a greener wicket..."

  • manizee on February 12, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    As a neutral, it's been fantastic watching No.8 vs. No.1. The last test was epic. Now reaching the climax… a thrashing to bring the giant to its knees will be perfect.

  • Naresh28 on February 12, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    We fail as a team to win matches mainly due to our bowlers. This was quite obvious when India conceded 500(1st inn) in the 1st test. Also dropped catches have a big bearing on the game. These two areas need to be addressed by India. All teams have pace bowlers who can defend any target - not India. We have allowed lots of batsman to rack up big centuries against us. Further pointing to a bowling problem? Labelling us as FTB - well NZ got out for 100 in second innings?

  • fair_paly_1 on February 12, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    Come the match day, I bet all grass will be shaved off.

    If not, I wonder if India will stick to their three pacers strategy. And for NZ after Southee, Boult, Wagner, Anderson who will be the 5th pacer as Sodhi is likely to miss out?

  • kiwicricketnut on February 12, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    @ sargarneel thing is about a green track is it brings fast bowlers into the game, test cricket should be an even test between bat and ball, when you see quick bowlers steaming in and the ball bearly gets waist high its just not very exciting to watch, green tracks very rearly stay green for 5 days which means quicks have a role early in the test and spinners have a role later in the test, its a better balance and more enjoyable to watch a batter have to deal with both skill sets. indians claim that its the climates fault and that is partially true but i do believe they have hoses and sprinklers in india, you might argue our pitches are too green but you could win the toss and thats our problem, then again if you are disciplined you can score big like we did against the windies on the same pitch, i hate pitches prepared so far in favour of the home team that the visitors are just there to make up the numbers, give me a pitch with something in it for everyone any day.

  • on February 12, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    @sachinvvsfan I didn't take anything away from India, did I? They played way way better cricket. Issue is that writer remains so innocent behind pitch not being green.

  • randikaayya on February 12, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    sagarneel: The issue is mate they don't prepare square turners normally. 9 out of 10 would be a highway

  • ICCexpert.... on February 12, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    come on kiwis, tame the toothless tigers, opps i should say toothless kittens....Indians have proven yet again they are flat track bullies......

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 12, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    @Shane Bond but it was the same pitch for both teams? Wasn't it?

  • Rahul_78 on February 12, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    Will MSD bite the bullet and play 4 fast bowlers in place of Jadeja? Well on a second thought dont think so!

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 12, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    No objections. Home team can prepare the tracks that suit them and top teams should win in all conditions. But then why people make so hue and cry when SC teams prepare turners?

  • on February 12, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    Come on Kiwis, roll over India in style.................

  • Sagarneel on February 12, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    When an Indian curator prepares a square turner for visiting teams (specially those who are inept at playing spin), hell breaks loose and every one starts demanding a sporting pitch. My question is - does only a green top qualify as a sporting pitch? Just because its more macho to see a batsman being clueless in front of a bouncer? Doesn't playing spin well count as an art? shouldn't batsman who plays spin well be considered as a good batsman just like a batsman who plays pace bowling well? I don't see any problem with home countries preparing wickets to their strength, and NZ, SA or Aus have every right to prepare hard, bouncy wickets...I just hope people who talk of sporting pitches when it comes to India, shut up when India plays at home.

  • on February 12, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    I tell you why pitch in 2009 was not as green. But do I need to tell?

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  • on February 12, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    I tell you why pitch in 2009 was not as green. But do I need to tell?

  • Sagarneel on February 12, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    When an Indian curator prepares a square turner for visiting teams (specially those who are inept at playing spin), hell breaks loose and every one starts demanding a sporting pitch. My question is - does only a green top qualify as a sporting pitch? Just because its more macho to see a batsman being clueless in front of a bouncer? Doesn't playing spin well count as an art? shouldn't batsman who plays spin well be considered as a good batsman just like a batsman who plays pace bowling well? I don't see any problem with home countries preparing wickets to their strength, and NZ, SA or Aus have every right to prepare hard, bouncy wickets...I just hope people who talk of sporting pitches when it comes to India, shut up when India plays at home.

  • on February 12, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    Come on Kiwis, roll over India in style.................

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 12, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    No objections. Home team can prepare the tracks that suit them and top teams should win in all conditions. But then why people make so hue and cry when SC teams prepare turners?

  • Rahul_78 on February 12, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    Will MSD bite the bullet and play 4 fast bowlers in place of Jadeja? Well on a second thought dont think so!

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 12, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    @Shane Bond but it was the same pitch for both teams? Wasn't it?

  • ICCexpert.... on February 12, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    come on kiwis, tame the toothless tigers, opps i should say toothless kittens....Indians have proven yet again they are flat track bullies......

  • randikaayya on February 12, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    sagarneel: The issue is mate they don't prepare square turners normally. 9 out of 10 would be a highway

  • on February 12, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    @sachinvvsfan I didn't take anything away from India, did I? They played way way better cricket. Issue is that writer remains so innocent behind pitch not being green.

  • kiwicricketnut on February 12, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    @ sargarneel thing is about a green track is it brings fast bowlers into the game, test cricket should be an even test between bat and ball, when you see quick bowlers steaming in and the ball bearly gets waist high its just not very exciting to watch, green tracks very rearly stay green for 5 days which means quicks have a role early in the test and spinners have a role later in the test, its a better balance and more enjoyable to watch a batter have to deal with both skill sets. indians claim that its the climates fault and that is partially true but i do believe they have hoses and sprinklers in india, you might argue our pitches are too green but you could win the toss and thats our problem, then again if you are disciplined you can score big like we did against the windies on the same pitch, i hate pitches prepared so far in favour of the home team that the visitors are just there to make up the numbers, give me a pitch with something in it for everyone any day.