New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington February 13, 2014

India seek end to winless streak

151

Match facts

February 14-18, 2014
Start time 1100 local (2200 GMT, previous day)

Big Picture

Two of India's last three Tests have been bona fide classics. On both occasions, they had victory snatched from their grasp by the old boys of Affies, a high school in Pretoria. A bit of luck here, a bit of magic there, and India might have registered two of their more famous Test wins. Instead they have question marks against them away from home. They have been much better than they were on their last miserable leg of cricket outside Asia - in England and in Australia - but the numbers are stacking up. At some point, players will start doubting themselves, they will begin to wonder just what it will take to win away from home; they have set South Africa a target of more than 450 yet couldn't close, they have bowled New Zealand out for 105 yet lost. They will wonder if they have forgotten how to win and if they don't at Basin Reserve, India will have put together, at 11 international matches, their joint-longest winless streak since West Indies came looking for revenge for their World Cup final defeat in 1983.

New Zealand are looking at a happier streak. All through this series they have threatened to squander winning positions, but have somehow got stuck in towards the end to keep winning. In their Test history, they have won four Tests in a row only once, but that included two wins against Zimbabwe in 2005. Having won the last two of the series against West Indies, and then in Auckland last week, New Zealand are on the cusp of achieving something memorable. There are already murmurs comparing this team to the three other consistently successful eras in New Zealand history: the days of Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe and Stephen Fleming.

If they are to win the four in a row, New Zealand will have to do it without one of their two best batsmen of the season: Ross Taylor will be away for the birth of his child. In all likelihood, though, they will have conditions to their liking again. The last time they played in Wellington, they rolled over West Indies on a green top. This time, too, it is difficult to tell the pitch from the square. Moreover, there has been rain during the week leading into the Test, so there will be moisture retained.

Form guide

New Zealand (last five completed matches, most recent first) WWWDD
India LLDWW

In the spotlight

The New Zealand openers have got a lifeline, but that rope must be getting shorter. Since his debut hundred, Hamish Rutherford has scored just one fifty in 10 Tests. The way he got out both times at Eden Park might also worry them.

The Indian quicks displayed their worst, and their rare best, at Eden Park, but they will need to watch against what happened in South Africa where they were so exhausted from their effort at Wanderers that the intensity was visibly down at Kingsmead.

Teams news

Two caps will be handed out by New Zealand. Tom Latham will debut in Taylor's absence, and they have also assessed that on this green pitch they will need an extra seamer so Jimmy Neesham will also get a taste of Test cricket. With Neesham, the batting order will look longer too.

New Zealand 1 Peter Fulton, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Tom Latham, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Jimmy Neesham, 8 BJ Watling (wk), 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult

India are unlikely to change their XI. Even if the wicket is a carpet of grass, they won't want to play four quicks: the last time they did, MS Dhoni was banned for poor over-rate.

India 1 M Vijay, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Ajinkya Rahane, 7 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Ishant Sharma

Pitch and conditions

Over to Brett Sipthorpe, the groundsman: "I don't expect they [India] will be too happy when they see that. It has had good pace and bounce in it this summer, and basically we are aiming for exactly what we had for the West Indies one. That was nice and bouncy, and had a little bit of nip around, which suits the seamers." On the eve of the match though, the grass appeared a little thinner. The weather forecast is good. There hasn't been any rain since Wednesday morning and we shouldn't have any disturbances during the match.

Stats and trivia

  • India have now lost more away Tests under Dhoni than any other captain. His win-loss ratio of 0.45, though, is much better than the captain he just went past, Mohammad Azharuddin. Rahul Dravid's 1.25 remains the best away win-loss ratio for an Indian captain.
  • Brendon McCullum is 91 short of becoming only the fourth New Zealander to 5000 Test runs.
  • In New Zealand's last three Tests, quick bowlers have taken 59 of the 60 wickets. Sodhi took the 60th, that of No. 11 Tino Best, in Hamilton.
  • Among bowlers that have taken 150 wickets for India, Ishant Sharma's strike-rate is better than six spinners, including three from the famous quartet, but his average is better than only Ravi Shastri. Also, his strike-rate is worst among the four quicks that have reached the landmark for India.

Quotes

"It is a new team, young players who have got five-six matches under their belt. Of course, It takes a bit of time. Last Test we played, we fought back really nicely and even in the last innings, we batted really nicely. There are a lot of positives to take from the last match and it is building our confidence and our strength."
Shikhar Dhawan is not ruling out India's chances in the second Test

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • thozar on February 14, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    @Nampally, India did pretty well with 2 bowlers picking up all the wickets, didn't they? NZ, with their 5 medium-pacemen, on the other hand, have only picked up only 2 wickets in 27 overs now. I say we didn't make such a bad decision for this test. I do expect a few changes though. Vijay should not be given too many chances now and should be told in no uncertain terms that India needs his runs or he packs his bags. He is a good batsmen and should provide an ideal foil to the attacking Dhawan but he needs time in the middle. Otherwise, team looks good. Ashwin might now struggle to break into the XI considering the next series is in England where we won't need 2 spinners. Expecting India to win this test big and set themselves up for a nice summer in England:-)

  • thozar on February 14, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    @t20cric, Steyn is a left-hand bowler? Really? Last time, I checked he was a right-hander unless he suddenly became a left-hand bowler.

    The bowlers you mention are all good but they have been around for a while and mostly bowl in pace-friendly conditions. Look at the way Shami took apart WI in India and the NZ batsmen here. He bowled brilliantly in SA too and was unlucky to get more wickets.

    Amir who? The guy who was banned? let him first get out of the ban and start playing cricket. We will see then.

    All those who are laughing at India now are in for a rude awakening when India become the #1 team in tests in a year. Look at the way Dhawan is batting. Pure class. He was out of touch for a test or two in SA and people started questioning his ability. What do they say about form and class? With Ishant back in form (albeit after a very long time), India is going to become very hard to beat.

  • thozar on February 14, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    @BobCo, WC is different. It is the most important tournament in the world and teams bring their 'A' game to it. Bilateral series are but preparations (like appetizers) for the bigger tournaments (entrees). To win a world cup, you need consistency and that is what India had to win the cup. That Indian team must have been the best ever ODI XI, so let's not even go there.

    You say Cummins and Pattinson are streets ahead of Shami. Surely, you have some thing to substantiate that statement unless it is just an opinion?

    @Ashlin Wilson, perhaps you may have changed your opinion about the Indian team after the way India bowled and are now batting in this test? The way Ishant is bowling, if he carries this form to England, it is curtains for the weak England batsmen.

  • BobCo on February 13, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    @Thozar, so does that mean India's world cup win was really just a lottery entry that came up lucky too? Guess we should just ignore that too then, huh?!! Ha! That is very funny!! :-) I doubt Dhoni agrees!!!

    I 2nd Steve Harris on Shami v Cummins or Pattinson; when fit, both are streets better than Shami. I agree Team India's batting looks good -- in Pujara and Kohli, they have the makings of a world class spine. Sort out the openers -- I'm not totally convinced of either of the present incumbents -- and #5, and we should definitely see fewer overseas losses.

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    @thozar trent boult is better than shami. are you blind? your side has been comprehensively outplayed this whole tour by the number 8th ranked side in the world. going to thrash england and south africa. yep sure mate. face it, india struggle outside the subcontinent. open your other eye would ya!?

  • jahbert58 on February 13, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    @ MENSAN It's not that hard to figure out why India is loosing away from home. Showing up but not finishing is the problem. Jadeja have made 2 first class triple centuries so he is a batman. No reason why India need 8 bats in a line up. drop Rahane and play the extra seamer more balance attack the problem is not making big scores it is getting 20 wickets in a timely manner. Using Kohli and R.Sharma at the expense of another seamer does not cut it in test cricket...All the other top teams have 5 front line bowler TAKE NOTE INDIA....

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    Nz will be far to good in this one. Unbeaten and they haven't won a toss yet. India will crumble like a pack of cards if they get put in on this greenie

  • t20cric on February 13, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    @thozar: Your speaking too highly of your country's fast bowlers, if they were really as good as you say India would have been comfortably in no.1 of tests but right now they seem out of place at no.2. "Zaheer, along with MJ, is the best left arm paceman in the world." lol you do know that Steyn & co. are all left handers right? "Shami is easily the best young paceman in the world." That's also wrong coz Southee, Boult, Junaid & quite a few others are about the same age as Shami but better bowlers. Also lets not forgot that M. Amir is actually a bit younger than Shami & if he was playing at this time it would make no sense at all to make such a comment.

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    @linguboy If you go by pure common sense, then what you said is correct. But knowing Dhoni, he wudnt drop Rohit. Plus vijay is no longer a csk player. So, dhoni don't need to pick vijay. Whatever may be the case,we have to pick 4 pacers otherwise we can forget about winning this match.

    Also, Duncan fletcher must be sacked immediately.

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    @thorza - Trent Boult is the best young fast bowler in the world - he is only 8 months older than Shami is, and was in the top 5 test wicket takers last year.

  • thozar on February 14, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    @Nampally, India did pretty well with 2 bowlers picking up all the wickets, didn't they? NZ, with their 5 medium-pacemen, on the other hand, have only picked up only 2 wickets in 27 overs now. I say we didn't make such a bad decision for this test. I do expect a few changes though. Vijay should not be given too many chances now and should be told in no uncertain terms that India needs his runs or he packs his bags. He is a good batsmen and should provide an ideal foil to the attacking Dhawan but he needs time in the middle. Otherwise, team looks good. Ashwin might now struggle to break into the XI considering the next series is in England where we won't need 2 spinners. Expecting India to win this test big and set themselves up for a nice summer in England:-)

  • thozar on February 14, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    @t20cric, Steyn is a left-hand bowler? Really? Last time, I checked he was a right-hander unless he suddenly became a left-hand bowler.

    The bowlers you mention are all good but they have been around for a while and mostly bowl in pace-friendly conditions. Look at the way Shami took apart WI in India and the NZ batsmen here. He bowled brilliantly in SA too and was unlucky to get more wickets.

    Amir who? The guy who was banned? let him first get out of the ban and start playing cricket. We will see then.

    All those who are laughing at India now are in for a rude awakening when India become the #1 team in tests in a year. Look at the way Dhawan is batting. Pure class. He was out of touch for a test or two in SA and people started questioning his ability. What do they say about form and class? With Ishant back in form (albeit after a very long time), India is going to become very hard to beat.

  • thozar on February 14, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    @BobCo, WC is different. It is the most important tournament in the world and teams bring their 'A' game to it. Bilateral series are but preparations (like appetizers) for the bigger tournaments (entrees). To win a world cup, you need consistency and that is what India had to win the cup. That Indian team must have been the best ever ODI XI, so let's not even go there.

    You say Cummins and Pattinson are streets ahead of Shami. Surely, you have some thing to substantiate that statement unless it is just an opinion?

    @Ashlin Wilson, perhaps you may have changed your opinion about the Indian team after the way India bowled and are now batting in this test? The way Ishant is bowling, if he carries this form to England, it is curtains for the weak England batsmen.

  • BobCo on February 13, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    @Thozar, so does that mean India's world cup win was really just a lottery entry that came up lucky too? Guess we should just ignore that too then, huh?!! Ha! That is very funny!! :-) I doubt Dhoni agrees!!!

    I 2nd Steve Harris on Shami v Cummins or Pattinson; when fit, both are streets better than Shami. I agree Team India's batting looks good -- in Pujara and Kohli, they have the makings of a world class spine. Sort out the openers -- I'm not totally convinced of either of the present incumbents -- and #5, and we should definitely see fewer overseas losses.

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    @thozar trent boult is better than shami. are you blind? your side has been comprehensively outplayed this whole tour by the number 8th ranked side in the world. going to thrash england and south africa. yep sure mate. face it, india struggle outside the subcontinent. open your other eye would ya!?

  • jahbert58 on February 13, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    @ MENSAN It's not that hard to figure out why India is loosing away from home. Showing up but not finishing is the problem. Jadeja have made 2 first class triple centuries so he is a batman. No reason why India need 8 bats in a line up. drop Rahane and play the extra seamer more balance attack the problem is not making big scores it is getting 20 wickets in a timely manner. Using Kohli and R.Sharma at the expense of another seamer does not cut it in test cricket...All the other top teams have 5 front line bowler TAKE NOTE INDIA....

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    Nz will be far to good in this one. Unbeaten and they haven't won a toss yet. India will crumble like a pack of cards if they get put in on this greenie

  • t20cric on February 13, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    @thozar: Your speaking too highly of your country's fast bowlers, if they were really as good as you say India would have been comfortably in no.1 of tests but right now they seem out of place at no.2. "Zaheer, along with MJ, is the best left arm paceman in the world." lol you do know that Steyn & co. are all left handers right? "Shami is easily the best young paceman in the world." That's also wrong coz Southee, Boult, Junaid & quite a few others are about the same age as Shami but better bowlers. Also lets not forgot that M. Amir is actually a bit younger than Shami & if he was playing at this time it would make no sense at all to make such a comment.

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    @linguboy If you go by pure common sense, then what you said is correct. But knowing Dhoni, he wudnt drop Rohit. Plus vijay is no longer a csk player. So, dhoni don't need to pick vijay. Whatever may be the case,we have to pick 4 pacers otherwise we can forget about winning this match.

    Also, Duncan fletcher must be sacked immediately.

  • on February 13, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    @thorza - Trent Boult is the best young fast bowler in the world - he is only 8 months older than Shami is, and was in the top 5 test wicket takers last year.

  • goafghanistan on February 13, 2014, 20:49 GMT

    I'ld put India as slight favorites, without ross taylor and NZ for some reason retain peter fulton, how many opener are there in worldcricket that average less than 30

  • on February 13, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    I think the coaching staff needs to be changed .Duncan Fletcher has had a longer rope than ishant .Even the bowling coach. Bhuvi and Ishant performed pretty well in IPL.Maybe it was bcoz of Donald So and Waqar. A recently retired player (2000 s)could also be a good coach as demonstrated by Darren Lehmann.

  • Nampally on February 13, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    @thozar: "Some People think NZ are favourites to win" is your query. The rationale behind such thinking is : You cannot win a 5 day Test Match with just 3 specialist Bowlers + one Bowling All rounder= Total of 4 Bowlers. Any Captain who dreams of taking 20 wkts. with such thinly spread bowling is Insane. Dhoni has used 4 Bowlers in 2 SA Tests + I NZ Test to be on losing side. He insists on the same approach for Second Test Vs. NZ. His excuse is 4 fast bowlers in the team will result in "him getting banned" for the next Test because 14 overs/hour rate will not be met. How do England, SA, NZ & Australian captains remain "Unbanned" when they always play with 4 seamers? NZ pitches favour pace bowlers.3 pace bowlers (one over 35 years) cannot consistently attack to take 10 wkts. India needs 4 seamers. But Dhoni places "his position" above the Team's victory. No Captain is > the Team! This is why Fans have lost faith in the Captain. India is a better team on paper provided right guys play.

  • PMadhavarao on February 13, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    All the best team India. You are almost there . Just give that extra "push"

  • on February 13, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    Not sure why you indian fans are wanting sharma replaced, he was your best bowler last test

  • thozar on February 13, 2014, 19:47 GMT

    Steve Harris, all those bowlers you mention mostly have had limited success even after bowling in bowler-friendly conditions in Australia, England, and South Africa. Shami has been bowling mostly in India which offer pitches and conditions that are not as fast bowling friendly as these other country. Still he managed to thrash hapless West Indian batsman in India and continued his fine form in South Africa against much better batsmen. So, yes, I think Shami is right on top among the best young fast bowlers in the world right now.

  • More.blocks.than.a.leggo.box on February 13, 2014, 19:32 GMT

    Putting Neesham above BJ Watling is a bit harsh on BJ isn't it? Only a couple of years ago he was opening the batting in tests - now is is number eight =/

  • CSKLion on February 13, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    Ashwin should play this test rest Nohit Sharma, if we still drop Ashwin, man India must be the SUPER STRONG TEAM in the world to drop a NO. 1 TEST ALLROUNDER

  • Capricorn60 on February 13, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    @mensan When you have only three seamers, they obviously then have an increased workload as we've seen. When we also have Zaheer who is 35+ & injury prone, they naturally get tired towards the end of the day & the opposition batsmen are able to cash in. We even had this scenario not long back in the Durban Test where MSD refused to take the new ball on the 4th morning because he claimed his seamers were tired! Due to this, we ended up losing that Test & the series! @munna_indian the aussies normally have Watson as a fourth seam-bowling option - it is just that he is injured & so not playing in the current Test vs SA. Outside the sub-continent, ALL teams play with atleast four seamers or three plus one seam bowling all-rounder - except us! Hence we keep on getting whitewashed!

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 13, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    On a green wicket like this, Dhoni needs to play with 4 seamers. Along with Shami, Zaheer and Ishant, Dhoni needs to include Bhuvi or Ishwar.

    There's no place for a spinner like Ashwin or Jadeja. Ashwin's bowling is useless outside India and he is a lousy fielder. Outside India, we need a pace bowling all rounder like Rishi Dhawan or Irfan Pathan.

  • on February 13, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    thozar. ... best young fast bowler in the world. not sure he has pattinson, starc or cummins from oz covered

  • thozar on February 13, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    @henchart, I wouldn't call it a humilation if you take only tests. ODIs and T20s are like lotteries, so we will ignore them. As Siddharth says, we could have easily won 2 out of the 3 tests in SA and NZ. We are a young side. Give the boys some time. If you look at the other countries and compare it to us, we have the best young talent coming through. Shami is easily the best young paceman in the world. And, enough has been said about our young batsmen, so I am not going to repeat. This Indian time is going to thrash England in England and give the mother of all fights to Australia in Australia. Given that England is so hopeless now, I would be surprised if we don't beat them at least 3-0. Aus. would be a challenge as their bowling is very good but our batsmen are better at handling their pacers than the Englishmen. But first, we have to beat NZ in this test. I think our young team will begin their winning way with this test.

  • waitara on February 13, 2014, 17:53 GMT

    I believe Ryder would be there opening if he hadn't seriously broken team rules. And we need him. So, in my view, Ryder is now costing us and it's time to forget him.

  • Test_Real_Cricket on February 13, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    DHONI U R NOT FIT FOR TEST FORMAT! Make a call. Give younsters a chance.

  • thozar on February 13, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    India should play Ashwin in place of Jadeja. It is surprising that some people think NZ are favorites to win here considering that they are ranked so low and India are ranked #2. India are still favorites for me. We lost the first test but we could have easily won it had our batsmen shown some application. It was a great effort by our bowlers to bowl NZ out for only 105 in their 2nd innings. This time, they are without the services of their best batsman - Taylor - and Kane Williamson is long overdue a failure given the law of averages. Ishant, after a long time, is beginning to repay the faith put on him. Zaheer, along with MJ, is the best left arm paceman in the world. MJ has more pace but lacks the guiles of Zaheer. In this wicket, I expect our attack to bowl NZ out for paltry scores in both innings. India's batting ought to be the best in the world with Pujara, Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit, and Rahane. Beginning with this test, you will see Ind win everywhere.

  • on February 13, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    It seems India night field 4 pacers, if my instinct is right, since Ishwar Pandey has been snapped up by CSK for IPL....or at least make his debut. Without Dhoni's approval or suggestions CSK would not have bid for him.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 13, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    Whilst NZ are going to go with 5 seamers, here the Indian "experts" are debating whether to stick with three or four. It just shows which team really wants to win it and which one is in defensive batting heavy mode.

    In my humble view, from a neutral, a more attacking ploy would be replacing a batsman perhaps Rahane with a seamer as there are enough good batsmen up the order.

  • on February 13, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    @Ashutosh, what's wrong with you - how can Vijay play ? He can't bowl, can't field - drops catches & bowlers get blamed & bats only against a batsman-friendly bowling attack. I would open with Dhawan & Rahane, but replace Vijay & Ishant / Zaheer with Panday & Yadav.

  • on February 13, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    You need to pick your physically strongest bowlers. Mitchell Johnson is wayward, but over time he has managed to gain control, at the age of 32, he is finally in his prime. You can get a wayward bowler to gain control over time, but you can't get a weaker bowler to generate pace, they only get slower. Pick the strongest lads you have at home and give them plenty of experience on green wickets.

  • mensan on February 13, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Talk of a 4th seamer for India is pointless. If 3 can't do it, 4th will not do it either.

  • on February 13, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    All, Please rewind to Southafrica WC(50/50). No Body expected a country without a good pool of fast bowlers to even enter the next stage. we Went down on the finals. (After the bashing from Kiwis n NZ)

    Similarly it happened in 20/20 and we took the cup. and still we are the world champs in 50/50. ( 2 - 50/50 Champs and 1 time 20/20 Champs). Were the number 1.0 test side for a long period

    By the way if NZ, SA , Aus and SA are producing Fast friendly conditions, Why don't Asian Countries like BA , PAk , SL and IND can produce a similar spinner friendly track that just lasts for 1 day for the tourists.

  • munna_indian on February 13, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    its very sad that dhoni has lost the art of reacting to situations. he used to make deft changes and adjustments whether in selecting the correct 11 or bowling or fielding changes on the field. he seems to be static to what ever challenge is thrown at him. he is persisting with the same combo of ishant, zaheer and one spinner (either jadeja/ ashwin). the point is, no indian spinner is successful in abroad after the retirement of kumble. if this is the case, why pick a spinner in the playing 11 when he is not even picking wickets. now that we cant win this series, and to atleast draw this series, he needs to pick ishwar pande at the cost of some one. if jadeja has to be included, then, rohit will have to make way for him. we are not like the aussies who go with 3 frontline quicks and a lone spinner. they have two work horses in ryan harris and siddle and one thunderbolt in johnson. we dont have such in our line up, all 120 kmph case.

  • TRAM on February 13, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    ppl complaining of Vijay's dropped catch should realize that Vijay was never a slip fielder. He was typically long-on/off, deep midwkt fielder. It was Dhoni's poor captaincy putting him at slip. Also better keeper would have gone for that catch. Even Kholi dropped several catches at slip. India does not have good slip fielder. That is because they have not invested in a good fielding coach. Not that they good coach in some other department. Let them first have a wicket keeper coach and teach Dhoni how to move to leg side, how to run towards stumps when batsmen are running, how far he should keep the slip fielders, etc.

  • on February 13, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    @ Johnny_129 India played 4 quicks at the WACA last time they were in Australia and Dave Warner made a hundred in a session. I don't see the point in playing 4 seamers unless you have 4 good ones. At the moment India has one promising one in Shami, a terrible one in Ishant, and a has-been in Zaheer. Ishwar Pandey is untested (I'd play him instead of Ishant though). So I think India is better off playing with a spinner which is our strength.

  • Scallopian on February 13, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    I think the argument that India should go with four seamers is weak and short-sighted. Ultimately, you want your best bowlers to play, and pitch/conditions only matter to a particular extent. Even if we do choose a fourth seamer, he will not add anything to attack, simply because we don't have good enough fast bowlers to front an all-pace attack. If our third seamer is of the quality of Ishant Sharma, who has one of the worst averages for a bowler of his experience, our fourth seamer will be even worse. Also consider the last time we did add a fourth seamer because of a "green top" , in Australia in 2011, we lost miseralby, and the fourth seamer was utterly useless.

  • GRVJPR on February 13, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    In fact It will be good if what MS Dhoni says happens i.e he gets banned if India play 4 seamers. This is beco India might win with 4 seamers and DHONI will get banned for next series. Dhoni is the biggest stumbling block in way of India's success overseas. All problems will be solved. Every Indian fan must pray to god and go for pilgrimage for this to happen soon.

  • henchart on February 13, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    In terms of pacers ,Dhoni is not spolit for choice like Lloyd was for picking four out of five viz Roberts,Croft,Garner,Holding and Marshal.Having said that it must be admitted that Dhoni has become increasingly obstinate with team selection.0-2 prospects loom large for Indians .But with Asia Cup,T20 WC to follow the humiliation in SA and NZL would be forgotten read swept under the carpet .

  • vivek_khyati on February 13, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    there is no point playing zaheer.. zaheer should be doing what steyn, johnson does for africa and australia.. but, india is losing inspite of zaheer.. so, if pandey or yadav is given chance, they will atleast get some experiecne..

  • GRVJPR on February 13, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    Dhoni is so negative. He says that playing 4 seamers affect over rate and that gets him banned. But Mr Dhoni, think positively, if with 4th seamer you can bowl out NZ within 40 odd overs, overrated won't matter much. Also overrate increases due to unnecessary talks you do and your favorite zaheer does (while poking his nose in everything). Let young bolwers operate, they will learn to set up batsmen.

  • Choudury on February 13, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    Yes, this is one of NZ's best teams.

    Don't forget, they were able to draw out a test series with Bangladesh in their previous test engagement, in Bangladesh.

  • Johnny_129 on February 13, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Quoting Dhoni,"Every time India play with four pace bowlers, two things happen - one, we lose and two, the captain gets banned". Well, perhaps Mr. Dhoni would like to remind us of the last time India played with 4 quicks in an overseas Test??? Furthermore, why does India insist on doing things differently when the whole world plays with at least 4 quicks in NZ - Do India think they know better??? Even that thought is okay when you are succeeding but if are getting hammered every time then perhaps it is better to stop and re-think - Perhaps we are wrong and the others are right!! If you are failing but refusing to change then you are just PIG HEADED, Mr Dhoni! Last time I can remember 4 quicks was in Aus when Banajee made his debut and on that occasion Aus was bowled out cheaply!

  • on February 13, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    I think Rahane should open and rohit should bat at no.4 to provide solidarity to the middle order...even in the one days as well...rohit can finish the innings well with some good hitings in one day instead of rahane...

  • ashutosh.p on February 13, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    Since its a green pitch India needs to go with 4 fast bowler. If over rate is issue include even Jadeja go with 5 bowlers. On pitches like this bowlers are the key and can win the match for you. We can replace Rihit with Ishwer, get Kumar in place of Zak. We need to give chance to Kumar on piches like this he will be more lethal on these pitches and Zak is not the future but him. My XI : Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bhuvi, Ishant/Yadav, Shami, Pandey

  • gladiatorgannicus on February 13, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    this is for NZ fans.how is it that almost every pace bowler of NZ bats well.even if u have NZ 9 wickets down they may still have a 100 run partnership.NZ have an abundance of pace allrounders.Congrats.from an Indian fan

  • on February 13, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    A team scored 500+ and got bowled out for 105 is a mediocre team. A green pitch is awaiting and Dhoni's bowlers would be B.Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer and Shami. India might win because of NZ strategy of green top pitch. But these bowlers are not going to survive neither in india and overseas because they lack Pace and tactics. Mainly they don't bowl in Partnerships. Eng, Aus and SA are no longer going to produce greenish pitches. They produce bouncy batting pitches and bounce our batsman apparently our bowlers would tired because of lack of seam movement in pitch. Note : Selectors should check the conditions o overseas pitches before selecting players. SA's didn't provide seaming pitches despite our selectors picked bowlers of that kind who rely heavily on seaming pitch. Use brain more effectively.....

  • on February 13, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    We fans need to have patience. The good old "Fab Four" performed MUCH WORSE in their earlier years, even while batting together; in overseas internationals, than these "Fresh Five". They also took longer time and many more matches, before they could fight back. And, win. And, earn the fame.

    From the top six, at least five will survive as the core of Indian batting for future. I don't want to start an unnecessary debate, by stating which one of the six will not be in the "Future Five" --though I do have a view. Such a debate will be very wrong, when we are facing a crucial test in one of the most hostile conditions within the next 24 hours.

    "Anything, they bowl short, we will hit" was a publically made statement just before the first test. And, during the test, many tried to do the same. Just count, how many wickets were lost, by executing that bravado-statement.

    Dear Indian batsmen: Play like good Test players; not like IPL players! (Though many of you are excellent IPL players)

  • Snambidi on February 13, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    4 Seame rsAll rounder Jadeja& Aswin& 5 batsmen would be ideal combination so that virtually there would be 7 batsmen including Jadeja& Aswin.as spinners as well as batting hands. Enough for India is Batsmen applies & play with Patience.the previous test Lost just because of the Lack of carefulness & patience. If they could play normal game ,it is not beyond our capability to win.Kohli& Rohit Sharma should be very careful in making strokes.leave as many balls as necessary if they do not come in the line of the 3 stumps& choose loose balls to hit. This is the only way remedy to come out of the Horns of the Dilemma which Indians are facing now.winning is a matter of prestige now.

  • Capricorn60 on February 13, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    @ Hussain Kurawadwala I couldn't agree more with you that in playing Tests abroad, we desperately need to play four seamers. This excuse by MSD of having a slow over rate in not doing so is rubbish since all other countries [outside the sub-continent] play with four seamers or three plus a seam bowling all-rounder. This is also important considering as we've seen both in SA & NZ, spinners generally are not very effective at all & this is why we've been thumped almost every time we've played two spinners. These whitewashes abroad are becoming an embarrassment, moreso when MSD refuses to adapt & so he really needs to be stripped of the Test captaincy at the soonest.

  • Absolutelycricket on February 13, 2014, 15:00 GMT

    Yadav in place of Sharma or zak , he would be fastest and a big surprize for NZ. Let him gain some experience don't know how many chance Sharma is going to get

  • ListenToMe on February 13, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    It is just common sense to say that India will lose the match easily with the current set of bowlers. They should play Umesh instead of Ishant or Zaheer since both of them are not performing well.

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    If picked umesh yadav will get five for..he is the best test bowler we have on current form..sham I is predictable and will struggle against quality sides

  • linguboy on February 13, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    @vrkp: make no mistake but its Rohit not Vijay who needs to go. for slip catching you can easily replace him with another but what about batting?? 1 half century doesn't justify you are back in form. I am baffled by the shot selection by him in both the innings. Really even school kids these days know that you can't drive on the up when the ball is moving. but alas but what our talented batsman do??? plant the front foot and drive the all on the up. ok one mistake. then in the second innings what was he doing by hanging his bat outside the offstump just after tea??? make no mistake if he had batted with certain cautiousness we could have won the match. its he who should be dropped not Vijay.

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    It is not aggressiveness that dhoni lack. He doesn't know how to produce bowlers. He lack bowling game plan that's y he always bowl first in the oneday matches. he is not willing to give chance to the new players. Zaheer is not good enough to play test. he is not even running well. Since this is a fast wicket he may get wicket but that doesn't means he is good enough. Player like Ishwar Pandey is a specialist test player since he is more accurate. He may not be success as a 20-20 player.So pleace give his a chance. As a new bowl bowler Buvi is the best in India.please don't forget that..

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    I think this will be the last test match for dhoni as a captain! he should be removed from the captain for the betterment of cricket even if he who's next test match because he is running out of ideas....

  • Nampally on February 13, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    If India do not play a 4th seamer, they will lose! It is sheer lunacy if they again play with 3 specialist bowlers in a 5 day test match. Also Shami, ZAK & Ishant are playing back-to-back after they bowled close to 50 overs just a week back. A fresh arm is needed. There are 3 pace bowlers available- Yadev, Kumar & Pandey. Dhoni's excuse "Risk of Captain getting banned if we play 4 pace bowlers" is just Dumb & a No-Brainer. How come NZ always play with 4 seamers & in this test they have 5 seamers without their captain getting banned? If India wants a Victory they need to excel in Deeds Not Excuses. India has a better team than NZ on Paper & based on past performance. Tat 25 for 5 in the second innings of the last test was convertible to < 50 All Out, if only India had the 4th seamer You got to have right horses for the right courses. Indian batsmen should have discipline to avoid such dumb dismissals as Pujara's in the first & Kohli's in the second innings. Good Luck & Jai Ho.

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:32 GMT

    Play yadav in place of zak...not to forget v have 2 big tours of england and australia lined up...need to give this quickie some more match practise who took a famous n lone five wickt haul in australia last tym...zak doesnt hv d same star power

  • vrkp on February 13, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    From the XI that played in the last test, Dhoni, Shami, Kohli, Pujara and Jadeja (he actually doing a good job in the two tests he played away from home) are guaranteed to play.

    Then Dhawan, Ishant and Rohit had got back to some form and did well. so these also can't be dropped.

    That leaves Vijay, Rahane and Zak in some sort of bother.

    Zak has two advantages - left arm bowler and most experienced. So can't drop him.

    That means either Vijay or Rahane to sit down to bring in either Yadav/Bhuvi.

    Rahane - batting is good if not outstanding. But his big plus point is his fielding. Vijay - eventhough he hasn't scored many, his fielding is seriously poor.

    My XI:

    Dhawan, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Jadeja,Zak, Bhuvi/Yadav, Ishant, Shami.

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    I'd pick Ishant even though some ppl will call me mad as he got nine wickets last match and not to compensate his exclusion from limited overs 'squad.I would also pick rohit as he scored 79 in first innings when no one else crossed 30 .I d drop one batsman maybe vijay send rahane or rohit opening ,preferably rahane and then pick 4 th seamer .But dhoni will never pick 4 seamers as he will get banned for slow over rate .This is his main problem .

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    Consistency is the main thing in cricket and so for Indian is showing its consistency by losing 10 in a row. I wish the 11th one from the core of my heart. Where is the cooling of Mr. cool. Where are the double tons of Dhawan and Rohit. Where are the fastest 100 wkts of ashwin. They are only good in india. Enjoy top ranks unstead of losing.

  • on February 13, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    Even though ppl will say I m mad I would still pick Ishant as he has got 9 wickets in last match (and not to give him compensation for being dropped in limited overs) and maybe get another seamer ,drop 1 and batsman and play jadeja at 7 maybe vijay and get either rohit or rahane (rohit simply because of a good 79 in first innings when every 1 failed ).But again dhoni will never pick 4 seamers as he will be banned for slow over rate. This is the worst thing about him.

  • pardo on February 13, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    Mmm - Taylor leaves a massive hole doesn't he? A top four that includes Fulton, Rutherford and Latham on a green wicket says 25/3 to me. Hope I'm wrong but boy it would be a good time for Baz to win a toss.

    Would have been inclined to pick a specialist batman (note to Ryder - please stop being a pillock,you'd have been playing in this one for sure) rather than an extra medium pacer. If the wicket is juicy enough to go without a specialist spinner then if Boult, Southee Wagner can't get 20 wickets with some help from Anderson and Williamson I can't see Neesham providing much more. Whereas I can see us six specialist batsmen to get a decent score to bowl at.

    Finally, I have posted here questioning how long we could keep playing a specialist captain who didn't score runs so after the last test I owe Baz an apology - fair play, that was a stunning knock. More please.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 13, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    It could at least be a whitewash of tosses for Dhoni if nothing else. You never know!

  • on February 13, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    irrespective of the result this will be a good learning curve for this indian team. for the stats it s the only indian team after 1976 team which scored more than 350 runs in second innings. having said that, I don't mean demeaning the fab four. by the way its not first time india has lost a series abroad.so why crib at this inexperienced team.

  • CricketMaan on February 13, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Dhoni likes his spinners, especially Jaddu so can't see him drop him over Bhuvi. Neither he will be bold to drop Rohit and have Bhuvi in. I see no change in the XI. Ash has 2 100s under pressure and even a 70 in Sydney, so he should be able to swap with Rohit in current form? Ash can even bowl some part time offspin!

  • on February 13, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    AS everyone talk about PACE PACE let me tell you just PACE will not make any difference Umesh have PACE but no other variety he is very straight and predictable. Come on KIWIS do your best and make 2-0 after long long time i see good KIWI team.

  • CricketMaan on February 13, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    BCCI has a policy not to respond to media allegations, they have no good relationship with media back home. Is that why they have been quite about the allegations that MSD and Raina are under pump?

  • on February 13, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Dhoni should be aggressive like Ganguly.

  • SaraJahanSeAchha on February 13, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Could not agree more with Ali. India has had a good run for the last 10 years and have done well in Australia, England and South Africa (except the last 2 series led by Dhoni). This is almost a new team and is gaining experience. India was at peak with Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman and Ganguly the big five who managed big scores and helped win. But I have to say it's been a long run with Dhoni and is really not a good Test captain neither takes risks nor thinks outside the box. It's time the management plan for the next captain.

  • on February 13, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Sharma, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bhuvi, Shami, Yadav, Sharma.

  • jerryman on February 13, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    Good luck to the Kiwis . may the pace be with you.. Hopefully NZ can win the toss and get about 4-5 wickets in the 1st session. Playing an all pace attack will be good if the wicket favors pace. Imitation is flattery , will India go in with an all pace attack as well .. Hoping it will be a great test . A 2-0 series win will bring about changes hopefully for India..

  • on February 13, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Dhoni r overseas record is very poor both as a batsmen and captain..only thing he can do is to attack the opposition by close in feilders and by short pitched deleveries by our bowlers,

  • x_lnc on February 13, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson is ripping through South Africa top order by his pace evidencing pace can pave way for victories, I would pick Umesh in place of Ishant and Ishwar in place of Rahane to level the series and India would'nt mind even if Dhoni is suspended for next match in view of any slow over-rate

  • on February 13, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    i hope India lose every match until they recall gambhir for tests and yuvraj,harbhajan,sehwag for ODIs.

  • on February 13, 2014, 12:07 GMT

    Hope India will be white wash.

  • on February 13, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Ashwin should be played in place of either Any of the batsman or Jadeja. The guy has the temperament to withhold pressure and can very well handle new ball better than many batsman today.

  • dual.citizen on February 13, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    An emotional opening, an overly jaundiced opinion. They should have and deserved to lose against SA but were saved because SA choked as do they do often. However, this was better performance for Indians who fare very poorly abroad. Against NZ, they deserved to lose and lost after some fight back. In any case they could not have won either of the tests.

  • on February 13, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    When India produces a draw away from home they call it classic......................Comeon mate it is just aboring draw & nothing else

  • aussie1993 on February 13, 2014, 11:21 GMT

    fRom last 11 matches I have been listening india will win nxt one but quite surprisingly that nxt one nvr comes y cant india except that they can nvr win test series overseas india hve nvr won test series in australia and sa and look how australia is performing in sa now marsh has only played 12 test innings still he got test century and smith is first time playing in sa in tests still got a century but indian fans always have excuses of inexperienced team when have last time ur experienced past team won series in test in australia and sa answer is nvr

  • IndianInnerEdge on February 13, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Bowlers win matches, batsmen save them, generally......i would pick Yadav for Rahane, he is an out of out quickie, the wicket is green, should have some bounce.....india should go all out and hope that their 5 main batsmen fire.....i would risk putting the opposition in if we win the toss, try for a 1-1 series result and in the process if we loose 2-0 no probs...but if we go with 6 batsmen...i cannot see us taking 20 wickets again......Cmon India pick Yadav.....and hopefully Zak is playing the last time for india in any format.....thanks Zak for the memories......Goodbye

  • on February 13, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    @Saikrishnan Baskaran. I am a pakistani and a big pakistani cricket fan but I do agree with you totally... India since 2003 worldcup in which they were in the finals has been enjoying a very good run of play.. specially in the ODIs. its just been recently under dhoni when they are loosing away test matches.. but not ODIs.. however it is always hard for every team to win in Aus, SA and England.. there is no harm in accepting that India has been good over the last 10 years.. plus they have been winning continously at home...

    If you compared it with pakistan they have been very poor in ODIs specially away from home/UAE in the last 10 years and in test they have been on and off. like they have beaten england 3-0 at home but lost to them in 2010 away series.. In SA and AUS they have been whitewashed in tests.. However against newzealand Pakistan's record has always been very good.. if I am not wrong we havent lost any away Test series in Newzealand ever...

  • Cricsnake on February 13, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    Performance of Indian team is not that bad as many fans say. They draw a test match in SA and it was a close encounter. Last test in NZ too they bowled well in second innings and just short of 40 runs to win.The lack of enough overseas tours in 2013 and huge wins at home has scrambled the tactics. Dhoni should be confident and get the risk of playing with four fast-men. Jadeja can replace one pure batsman. Jaddu can play well against short balls and if played carefully he could surpass many pure batsmen. Zaheer, Shami, Ishant and Umesh will do the trick with the help of Jadeja.

  • on February 13, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    I strongly feel it might be a whitewash. Dhoni is a captain for the best Indian team. ganguly was the best captain for Indian team. Fed up seeing dhoni as captain and his coolness even when india loose. please replace him. please..

  • vsmohan on February 13, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    India should play Ashwin as a batsman in the top order. India looses quick wickets with the new ball outside India. Ashwin as a batsman has better average than most of the current top order players.He has played well with outside India against fast bowlers. With Ashwin operating in tandem with Jadeja can get wickets and both players batting is equivalent to more than 1.5 batsman . Always spinners operating in tandem have fetched more wickets anywhere. India's run total by playing both Ashwin and Jadega will be more by playing an extra batsman.

  • Capricorn60 on February 13, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    In any match, the home team obviously know the conditions much better - so the away team generally won't go wrong by copying the home team in their team composition. We saw how England did this & won the Test Series when they last toured India. If NZ are likely to get rid of their spinner in this match for an extra seamer, then we too need to get an extra seamer in as playing with just three frontline pace bowlers is a big risk anyway in matches played abroad. However MSD never learns as we've seen in the ODI too - so sadly he will stick with the same bowlers from the last match & we will get whitewashed in yet another away series! Really hope I am wrong!

  • imransaheb on February 13, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    India will win this one.A 1-1 draw for the series

  • bobbo2 on February 13, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Come on NZ. Finish this off. The loss of Taylor is big and the openers need to stand up to give the lower order an older ball. So exciting yo see NZ finally perform after all these years of disappointment and inconsistency. When they were out for 105 I was very upset but they pulled it out of the hat. Come on NZ!

  • on February 13, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    @Mohammad Zamin The reason India didn't slip drastically in rankings is due to the HONEY moon period between 2002 and 2011. In this decade they won Test SERIES in Pak, Eng, NZ, WI, Ban, SL and drew in Aus, SA. Add this to consistently winning by huge margins against these team at home(except SA, they drew at home too). This ensured IND had accumulated enough points to stay at the top. Also the main contenders Aus had a very mediocre period till mid 2013, hence they couldn't topple Ind from no.2 . Pakistan is a different case altogether. If my memory serves me right their only series win for last 3-4 years was their ODI series win in SA which was also nullified by their loss in UAE. However if they can put up such good performances consistently, they can reach top 3 within a year or two.

  • praneshr on February 13, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    India can win the second Test only if Indian bowlers can repeat the same intensity and quality they showed in second innings of the First Test.

  • ste13 on February 13, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    I think India ODI performance away from home is a disaster (T20 is lottery cricket so I do not care). In tests, they perform beyond expectations and were not far behind in SA and matched New Zealand team in the first test (just compare with England "performace" in the Ashes). They just need a little bit of perfection and consistency - they play one good innings, while the other one is often disastreous (both bowling and batting). But looking as some patches of play in SA and New Zealand, they have proper resources to be a top test team. But ODI failure is a real disappointment - India were outplayed comprehensively.

  • kiwicricketnut on February 13, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    debutants have a history of doing allright for nz on test debut, sinclair, vincent, williamson, rutherford spring to mind so while our batting always looks a little light with no taylor, if latham and neesham can keep up that sort of history we will be just fine, the enthusiasm and effort they will bring to the team should fill up some of the void left by taylor, these two definately have the talent to succeed at this level so i wish them all the best for this test, i also wish taylor, his wife and baby well as well, good luck to all.

  • on February 13, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    yadav should be in - if wickets assist pace (any form be it swing or even reverse swing or pace and bounce) he will take wickets. He is that type of bowler.

  • Raginggbull on February 13, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    This inspired Indian team will fare well in the 2nd test. An inspired innings from Dhoni is much required for the team for him as well. Being an Indian captain is not an easy task, Dhoni is handling the pressures and keeping his role(Consolidator & Finisher, off late he didn't carry that). Those who asking for captaincy of Rohit, God's sake - I really don't know how those thoughts will prop up in the mind. Those overseas wins of 2000's era are because of scoring heavily on 1st innings and bowling fairly. The same have to be repeated here, catching up in the 2nd innings will be tough. Good luck team - waiting for the great win - An hardcore Indian fan.

  • on February 13, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    @art vandalay: Looks like you don't know how to evaluate facts. Yes it is hard to win series away from home. But the fact is India is not struggling to win a series. India is struggling to win a single test match overseas. In fact not even a single draw in last few series. Give SA, AUS, PAK, ENG, SL a few series away from home, they will win at least a handful of test matches. If India doesn't beat NZ or at least draw this second match then they are in a big trouble... might need to cancel IPL to improve test cricket.

  • CodandChips on February 13, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    India will struggle to end their winning streak if they continue to Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma.

    They need to realise that the evolutionary process takes time. Be patient Indian fans. Though it would help if you picked better bowlers, arguably your batting line up is the best you have. Might need a better keeper than Dhoni though, as his keeping is woeful.

    1.Dhawan 2.Vijay 3.Pujara 4.Kohli 5.Rahane 6.Sharma 7.Dhoni 8.Jadeja 9.Kumar 10.Shami 11.Yadav

    Yadav has good pace. Kumar has good control and swing. They deserve to play.

    New Zealand playing 2 all rounders is interesting. Perhaps England should take note and try Stokes and Woakes in the same match.

  • on February 13, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    I think dohni is best captan of ind..in won the world cup .20.20 world cup plus odis and test ranking nbr 1 team in dohni captancy ..yasir azad kashmir

  • on February 13, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    @Kanchana, I have been saying the same thing too. The problem here is every person who has even little knowledge on Cricket knows the main issue is Dhoni here but no one including the media, former players are saying anything(Or they really are blind). Dhoni should have gone way way back, In my opinion after the first 2 defeats in England in 2011. The fact that he is still the most secured captain in world sport still baffles me. On a captaincy perspective and on a batting perspective(the less mentioned about keeping, the better), Dhoni is no good in tests. All the work done by the boys in SA was undone by Dhoni and Jadeja gifting their wickets in that one session in the 2nd test. Bring Karthik in, make Rohit the captain, you will see an immediate change in the results.

  • thaikkathameed on February 13, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    Yes, Ashwin is the fastest spin bowler to get 10 wkts, but that is only in India, outside India he is a big ZERO, cannot bowl, bat and even field. There are many young genuine spinners in India, but as long as Dhoni at the helm of Indian cricket he will spoil their careers.

  • on February 13, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    The most amazing thing is that even after 6 ODI losses in a row India have only dropped 1 place in the ODI rankings ! I am a fan of several Indian Batsmen however they have only topped the list in all formats by playing at home. I agree with some comments here that all teams are strong at home no doubt, but with India it becomes very apparent. Australia gave India a great fight in the ODI series a few months ago in India...Australia is giving SA a fight in the test series now..Pakistan beat SA 3-1 in SA so why is it that the only away place India wins in Zimbabwe ???

  • Water_Bottle on February 13, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    Mr Ashish.. You are talking about giving lots and lots of support.. When it comes to non-performers like Dhawan, rohit, ashwin, jadeja, ishant, vijay.. you are talking about lots and lots of support.. But, when it comes gambhir, yuvi, viru, zaheer, where is ur support? only critizing..

  • anver777 on February 13, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    I wish BMac achieves the milestone of 5000 test runs in this test !!! GOOD LUCK !!!!

  • on February 13, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    Aboslutely Ganguly was the best captain India had.but i would never imagine dropping Dhoni.He was the answer to a long prevailing question about India's keeper/batsman.another thing is about Zaheer.he is my favorite bowler and though he is damn fit.he needs alot of match practice like his English county season '07-08.if he can turn it around for himself he will bring new hopes for the cup'15.otherwise i really feel this Indian team isn't going anywhere

  • sidh78 on February 13, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    NZ is a very good team on fast bouncy seaming green pitches.ok they are strugled on spining tracks of sc not a big thing(even high ranked teams like aus. & eng also strugle on spining tracks.aus white washed 4-0 in india) but on fast seaming pitches NZ is very very good & strong team.thats why nz won one day series in SA.beat eng at home.beat aus in test in aus.india also always strugled in nz .only last time india played well in nz.so this tour of nz is very tough for our team india.it will be very good series.best of luck to both teams. @dear wapuser india very well know how to perform on green seaming tracks.last time india won test & one day series in Nz so dont worry.also ind batsmans perfomed well in SA last serirs.u should take care u r own pak team which was lost to medicore & clublevel team sl. u r batsman not even scored on Flattracks of uae against medicore sl bowlers.

  • Santyment on February 13, 2014, 7:21 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, 7:17 GMT

    When India loses away tests then whoopidy dooo it's the worst team in world. When India wins at home then it's flat pitches. Well. If your teams are so good then why they lose on flat pitches? Also, aus win at home, eng won at home, SA win at home.. All good teams win at home and away they struggle. That's cricket.

  • KANCHANA623 on February 13, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    Dhoni should retire now. It's time for Rohith Sharma to take over the captaincy.

  • on February 13, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    I checked the ICC ratings after a long time to see that with 11 winless streak, India is still second best team in the world . I guess I wont be going back to view the flawed rating system any time sooner.

  • SameOld on February 13, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    @Alexk400: You mean the same Tim Southee who has averaged 25.08 per wicket at 2.91 per over in Tests over the last three years?

    "Very erratic"?

  • on February 13, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Again, how conveniently Ganguly is omitted in the discuss of Indian wins abroad. The stats are chosen such a way that he is overlooked. I know you will not publish this but every true cricket lover in India know it from their bottom of the heart: Ganguly is the best captain India has ever had - home or away. At home, Dhoni comes close, may be at par, but away? Phew!

  • Bang_La on February 13, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    Is it a joke? :) India will again demolished on the pitch where hey kept grass!

  • Vitruvius on February 13, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    Dhoni's captaincy is the issue. Drop Dhoni from tests.

  • CricActually on February 13, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    I think Bhuvi will come in handy on greener top. He lacks pace but has swing in his armory. 4 pacers or 3, he should be one of them. Ishant should never make it any 11, be it Zimbabwe. Keeping long hair does not terrorize batsmen anymore. You need good line, length and pace instead.

  • Cricsnake on February 13, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Hats off to Dhoni. He's really the captain cool who bears the immense pressure with such cool & calm mind; it's unique to him. This Indian team would be the best at the moment and no need of change. If played properly they can win any match anywhere. Only Ashwin's absence is the issue. He is the fastest spin bowler to get 100 wickets in the recent past, ample talent but loss of form. This team will definitely win the next match for sure and India's first victory in 2014. Anyway best wishes to both teams to see a thrilling match.

  • on February 13, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    Strewth thats a thin batting line up without Taylor. If one of our openers doesn't fire, we are going to be in trouble - even with Neesham all the way down at 8. Still, with Ryder taking himself out of contention, and Guptill unable to buy a cap, if Latham doesn't take his chance, those wobbly openers may get a few more free rides yet.

  • on February 13, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    One Test Match and our so called fast bowlers are already tired. Then spare a thought for Johnson, Siddle and Harris who bowled without a break in the 5 Test Ashes series and won it for Australia?

  • fr600 on February 13, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    The title.. not going to happen lol.

  • on February 13, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    Dear Dhoni you are continuing your cool temperament eventhough we are losing all the matches outside India. Everytime you blame either batsman or bowlers or fielders for the defeat. Your presentation ceremony has become very routine and mechanical. I think the captain is not able to motivate the team. Something wrong is going on in the dressing room. BCCI should wake up and sort out the issues. When Ganguly and Dravid were the capains, we used to win at least one or two matches outside the country. Now, it has become a regular clean sweep. What for we are playing cricket outside India, if we are not able to win a single match. Why don't we set the things right ? Don't show partiality in selecting the right combination for the match. Being a captain we are not able to judge the conditions prevailing there to opt bat or bowl first. Just for the sake of playing the cricket, if we play results will be clean sweep only. please wake up all cricketers.

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    Sameer Jamkhandi I am pretty sure you meant Ishwar Pandey , not Parves Razool

  • Alexk400 on February 13, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    There is something missing in nz bowling. When you think they have upperhand , they screwup so bad. They did it ODI and last test. So i am not sure on this nz team to win next test. i only like wagner effort. Southee has great bowling action but he is not going all guns blazing. very erratic. Corey anderson needs to gain confidence in his bowling. I really like his action but he needs to swing the ball more to be effective at his speed. Do not bowl left side or bowl to body of indian batsman. No overpitched deliveries. Make them fetch ball from outside offstump at chest height. Do not bowl short ball to jadeja. He already proven that he can handle it. Find weakness of individual indian batsman and make it uncomfortable to score.

  • Iceman29 on February 13, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    @ Albert_cambell: Been reading your comments for sometime now you always post some cheap comments against against Indian team (doubt if you really are an saffer)...SA is winning comfortably at home...recently they got hammered in SL everyone knows that....so dont be overexcited as if they are unbeatable...will see how they perform when they travel to Ind...nothing is permanent my friend sooner or later the tables will turn during that time each and every Ind fan will be upon u...will be waiting for your comments then till then enjoy bashing Ind....

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    The one thing India needs is a Fast bowler-all rounder like Shane Watson & Jacques Kallis. It is very vital for a team to be best as it gives one more extra spot available for whichever type of player captain wishes to add, specially when playing outside the sub-continent where pitches aren't much spinner friendly. It can deepen the batting line up and improve the bowling attack under grassy conditions.

    There is no dearth of good spin bowlers n India, like Jadeja, Ashwin or Ojha but what India lacks is a genuine fast bowler with a consistent pace, line, length and aggression, who can also contribute with bat when required. Which of course would be a luxury under current situation.

    Indian batsmen have often won a test for India, still longing for a test win purely won by bowlers

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    It's all about making right decisions at the right time! Wellington seems to be an ideal wicket for the likes of Parvez Rasool and Umesh Yadav. I don't see why Rasool has been made to sit out despite of the good performance in the practice match. For his height and pace, this wicket seems to be just perfect!

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Even if we lose this Test, the shame will soon be forgotten once the sleaze of the IPL circus starts and the 'fans' start attending/watching matches in droves.

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Mr Ashish when will this happen ? The kiwis are a completely new outfit and they are simply murdering our champs ! So when will dear Dhoni change our luck ?

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    flat track bullies... that's what indian batsmen are.... enough said

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on February 13, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    If India can't beat this New Zealand team also, they are really pathetic.

    Praise Dhoni for giving the long handle to his players and backing them all the way, however his plan has backfired. His players have become complacent, they have no idea how to win abroad and are trying to do just enough to keep their places in the team before they return to India and back to their miserable winning merry ways

    "India have now lost more away Tests under Dhoni than any other captain" - Just when we were getting good (under Dravid), we turned and became worse than ever

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    I PL Is round the corner and so no one cares a damn if 'Team India' loses yet again as our great team is back to our losing ways overseas which was an accepted fact in '70s and later before Dada changed it for a brief while .

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Indian bats men will play quickly because they want big money in IPL auction... they don't have any interest in test cricket .. specially when they have to face bouncy wicket out side INDIA

  • on February 13, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    indian team is going through a bad phase thats it. and i know very soon they will come over it and show to the world what they actually are.its time not to criticise there actions but to give them lots and lots of support..

  • CurrentPresident on February 13, 2014, 5:03 GMT

    Dhoni likes to keep his teams constant, but he has to realize that he needs to pick bowlers according to conditions - which here means picking Bhuvi ahead of Ishant or maybe resting either Rohit or Rahane.

    In South Africa, after the first test the bowlers were drained and India could have done much better if they had picked a fresh pair of legs.

  • IMG_SL on February 13, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Congrats India on up coming defeat. NZ will win the series 2-0.

  • on February 13, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Hope dhoni plays umesh yadav here. This pitch is a paradise for quick bowlers. If umesh does not play here. Then he will never be playing eleven and would always be carrying drinks under dhoni.

  • on February 13, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @ Albert_Campbell :If India are bowled out for 50, Kiwis will be bowled out 20...they could muster only 105 in their Last Innings ! Think again...Green Top or White India will win this one.....

  • philknight on February 13, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    You would have to say the Crowe/Hadlee era was at the same time, right? Once Hadlee retired the Crowe team of the early 90s were not successful apart from a memorable run at the 92 World Cup. Furthermore, Crowe's body began letting him down and he lost his captaincy to Rutherford. I am not sure we can claim a "Crowe era". However, I will acknowledge that even on one knee he was genuinely world class and some of his innings at that time(the tour to England in 94 comes to mind) were courageous and inspirational.

  • wolf777 on February 13, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    The wicket if green and India need to play four pacers with the series on the line. If Dhoni cannot control his over rate with four fast bowlers, he should resign as a captain. If all other teams can play four pacers without problem, what's wrong with India? Dhoni should get tough on his bowlers to rush up.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on February 13, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    Its unfair to burden this team with the burden of that horror run in 2011-12. Most of the members of this side were either at the very beginning of their careers or not yet in the team then.

  • BradmanBestEver on February 13, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    India seem to have lost their desire for the long game. It has been a steady decline in the quality of their test match cricket since the advent of the IPL.

  • on February 13, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    India has worked much hard in the recent times. as you can see the margin by which games are being snatched away from them. Bowlers being the losing cause of both the games. First game they played in S.A they put up a target of 450. Still could not bowl South africa out. 2nd game in S.A they again conceded 500 batsman came under pressure. They got out. In the odi series, the bowlers agian conceded 300 consistently. Batsman again and again came under pressure and lost the game. Everyones not as good as virat or dhoni. They need to time to settle in. Even in the first test the bowlers conceded 500. India under pressure lost the control. But it was good that they brought the gane back alive but just wasn't good enough.

  • on February 13, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Bhuvi should be played in this one. No excuse

  • Kashi0127 on February 13, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    From what I can understand regarding the formation of associations and bards, the BCCI in a sense is not really representing the country but a private body. Can the Karnataka team (with Vinay as captain) with so many talented players tour countries representing alternate India. Probably they could notch up more wins than the current Dhoni outfit.

  • pt_pt on February 13, 2014, 4:06 GMT

    Very good by NZ, if Taylor is not playing then yes Latham and Neesham must both play with Sodhi the 12 man for this final match. With this very strong batting line up, a big score is possible and also can play for a draw, with that win the series.

  • basusri133b on February 13, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    The composition of the team is going to be critical in deciding the outcome of this Test. We need to play four seamers and a spinner. Bhuveneswar should be selected since this wicket favors swing. The performance of the slip cordon could very well decide the outcome of this Test. With a grassy wicket, there are bound to be a lot of edges. The proper positioning of the slip cordon will be a crucial factor. Dhoni has a tendency to position the slips too deep. Murali Vijay & Ashwin (if selected) should be banished from the slips, both have very poor reflexes. A decent opening stand will help to relieve the pressure on one down and two down batsmen.

  • dogandbone on February 13, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    NZ top 5 looks very shaky and a lot of pressure must be on Williamson to pull them through....wonder how many runs Dhoni will let NZ have down through 3rd man this test.....along with dropped catches, this area leaked runs like a doggy curry. Probably the difference between the final tally up of the teams.

  • Albert_cambell on February 13, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    Dhoni Helicopters only work on Flat surfaces and sunny weather conditions. But under green and uneven surfaces, it simply fails. Even if it takes off,it simply crashes due to the overcast weather conditions.

  • on February 13, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    2-0.... 4 sre....india must go back to the drawng board... lot f tough decisions to be made... a certain captain's era must also come to an end if the situation demands so

  • Albert_cambell on February 13, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    I am afraid India will be bundled out for less then 50 if NZ decides to prepare a Green wicket. Kiwis are on their way to record their 4th consecutive test match win. Also India are on their way to extend their overseas record to 11-0. Common kiwis. Follow footsteps of ENG, Aus, SA. Best of luck to NZ from a Protea fan.

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    hope Rosco play the 2nd test n India choose 4 bowlers in this test..all eyes on Dhoni

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    One more time into the fire we dance! Once more into the greatest fight we have ever known (and thus far won).... India will be desperate here but we will not be complacent. FAR from. Go the mighty Black Caps. Your country is unified and behind you. Hopefully Taylor can celebrate a new addition to the family and being able to watch us take this series too! Good luck and best wishes to Latham and Neesham. We are so proud of all of you guys.... make us prouder 8-)

  • BustIPL on February 13, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    Wait. Wait. Wait. Please remember that NZ already had 300+ lead when they bowled india out and they were ion the verge of follow on being enforced. India had won against aussies following on due to Very Very S Laxman. When NZ came out in second their target was to add quick runs to add insult to injury and get india out while chasing instead of making india follow on get lead and then make NZ chase. In this process NZ lost quick wickets which made look india seamers good. Still Ishant is bowling more wicket taking deliveries than shami. Let's see in this test who is better as conditions are conducive for fast bowling. Good ploy by NZ playing 4 quicks to decimate indian batting lineup.

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    Result will be 0-2 for india

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    predicting centuries from murli Vijay and rahane and wickets from Umesh yadav if picked!

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 13, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    It will be really foolish of Dhoni if he does not play 4 pace bowlers on such a green wicket.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 13, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    It will be really foolish of Dhoni if he does not play 4 pace bowlers on such a green wicket.

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    predicting centuries from murli Vijay and rahane and wickets from Umesh yadav if picked!

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    Result will be 0-2 for india

  • BustIPL on February 13, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    Wait. Wait. Wait. Please remember that NZ already had 300+ lead when they bowled india out and they were ion the verge of follow on being enforced. India had won against aussies following on due to Very Very S Laxman. When NZ came out in second their target was to add quick runs to add insult to injury and get india out while chasing instead of making india follow on get lead and then make NZ chase. In this process NZ lost quick wickets which made look india seamers good. Still Ishant is bowling more wicket taking deliveries than shami. Let's see in this test who is better as conditions are conducive for fast bowling. Good ploy by NZ playing 4 quicks to decimate indian batting lineup.

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    One more time into the fire we dance! Once more into the greatest fight we have ever known (and thus far won).... India will be desperate here but we will not be complacent. FAR from. Go the mighty Black Caps. Your country is unified and behind you. Hopefully Taylor can celebrate a new addition to the family and being able to watch us take this series too! Good luck and best wishes to Latham and Neesham. We are so proud of all of you guys.... make us prouder 8-)

  • on February 13, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    hope Rosco play the 2nd test n India choose 4 bowlers in this test..all eyes on Dhoni

  • Albert_cambell on February 13, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    I am afraid India will be bundled out for less then 50 if NZ decides to prepare a Green wicket. Kiwis are on their way to record their 4th consecutive test match win. Also India are on their way to extend their overseas record to 11-0. Common kiwis. Follow footsteps of ENG, Aus, SA. Best of luck to NZ from a Protea fan.

  • on February 13, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    2-0.... 4 sre....india must go back to the drawng board... lot f tough decisions to be made... a certain captain's era must also come to an end if the situation demands so

  • Albert_cambell on February 13, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    Dhoni Helicopters only work on Flat surfaces and sunny weather conditions. But under green and uneven surfaces, it simply fails. Even if it takes off,it simply crashes due to the overcast weather conditions.

  • dogandbone on February 13, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    NZ top 5 looks very shaky and a lot of pressure must be on Williamson to pull them through....wonder how many runs Dhoni will let NZ have down through 3rd man this test.....along with dropped catches, this area leaked runs like a doggy curry. Probably the difference between the final tally up of the teams.