New Zealand seek urgent batting revival
Start time 11.00 (2200 GMT)
The wicket in Hamilton for the opening Test didn't warrant a three-day match, but New Zealand made it one with their hapless batting in the second innings. The temporary relief provided by a Twenty20 series win, also marking an encouraging start to John Wright's tenure as coach, was sullied by a spineless capitulation on a flattish pitch at Seddon Park. In what are expected to be tougher batting conditions in Wellington, with more swing and movement on offer for the fast bowlers, and where New Zealand were beaten by Pakistan early last year, an urgent recovery is the need of the hour for the hosts. The focus remains on the top order: Tim McIntosh is struggling and could well be replaced, Martin Guptill was given a torrid time by the left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman and the question remains of whether Brendon McCullum will shed some of his aggression in more testing conditions.
As for Pakistan, this is an opportunity to win their first Test series in 11 attempts since 2006. And it would be a memorable one, for their inexperienced players have played a hand in setting it up. Rehman starred in an all-round performance, Asad Shafiq was part of what was, in the end, a match-winning stand, Adnan Akmal showed ability down the order, while Wahab Riaz and Tanvir Ahmed shone with the ball in each innings. Add to that the performance of their captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, who led from the front with a stoic half-century, and things seem to be falling into place for a team plagued by enough distractions off the field. The seamers, Umar Gul, Riaz and Ahmed, should derive more assistance from the Basin Reserve track. It could boil down to whether New Zealand can combat them more determinedly.
Form guide(Most recent first)
New Zealand: LLDDL
Watch out for…
Left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz was the quickest bowler in the first Test, regularly hitting speeds of around 145kph and causing problems for the batsmen with the angle from which he bowls. He was unlucky in the first innings in Hamilton, but took three crucial wickets in the second. On a more helpful surface in Wellington, New Zealand's struggling batsmen will face a stern test.
In the first innings in Hamilton - his first Test at home - Kane Williamson batted with an assurance that was lacking in many of his senior colleagues. The shot-selection against a relentlessly accurate Abdur Rehman, and his composure against the quicks bodes well for a fragile batting unit.
Pitch and conditions
The first Test was played on a slow-and-low track, something more likely to be seen in Pakistan than in New Zealand. Wellington is likely to be a more traditional New Zealand wicket, with plenty of sideways movement and also extra bounce to interest the quicks. Rain is forecast during the Test, though Saturday is expected to be a sunny day.
Pakistan are unlikely to tinker much with their combination after the big win in the first Test. That means Umar Akmal is likely to remain on the sidelines, and left-arm spinner Rehman should retain his place. One change they could consider is replacing Tanvir Ahmed with the quicker Sohail Tanvir.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Tanvir Ahmed, 11 Wahab Riaz.
Daniel Vettori has hinted that James Franklin could be included in place of opener Tim McIntosh, who failed in both innings in the first Test. He said that with Ryder cutting down on his bowling, and Kane Williamson also likely to bowl only a few overs on account of a seamers' track in Wellington, Franklin's inclusion will reduce the load on the main bowlers.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Tim McIntosh/James Franklin, 2 Brendon McCullum, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Jesse Ryder, 6 Kane Williamson, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Reece Young (wk), 9 Tim Southee, 10 Brent Arnel, 11 Chris Martin.
Stats and trivia
- Chris Martin is seven short of becoming only the fourth New Zealand bowler to reach 200 Test wickets.
- Pakistan have lost only one Test series in 13 visits to New Zealand.
- Since 1990, Pakistan have won all three Tests they have played at Wellington, the best win-loss record for any visiting team at this venue.
- Since 1990, New Zealand have been dismissed for less than 200 on nine occasions against Pakistan, the most against any opposition. Their lowest score in home Tests in that period is 93, which also came against Pakistan.
- Daryl Tuffey's 30 wickets against Pakistan is the highest for a New Zealand bowler against one opposition in home Tests since 2000. He is followed by Chris Martin who has 26 wickets in seven home Tests against Pakistan.
Quotes"We understand it was a poor performance but if we get too down in the dumps then we're not going to rectify it here."
Daniel Vettori doesn't want to wallow in the past
"I bowl 140kph-plus and Wahab (Riaz) is bowling 145kph-plus, so I think at the moment we are a bit faster."
Umar Gul says Pakistan won't be fazed by a fast-bowlers' track in Wellington
Siddhartha Talya and Siddarth Ravindran are sub-editors at ESPNcricinfo