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March 5, 2009
The Big Picture
As expected, India shrugged off the Twenty20 aberration to hand New Zealand a heavy defeat in the first ODI. The hosts have to do all the running now. The pitch looks slow and is not expected to assist seam movement. Virender Sehwag has already said that if India's batting clicks, they can score 300 in every game. Even so, New Zealand couldn't have chosen a better venue to level the series. It's their favourite venue and Daniel Vettori said his players feel very comfortable playing here.
However, they have a key injury worry ahead of the game. Brendon McCullum has a thumb injury and Peter McGlashan has been called up to the squad in case McCullum doesn't recover in time. If McCullum doesn't play then Martin Guptill will open. Without McCullum, New Zealand might struggle to get someone to guide the inexperienced batting line-up.
India will again be without the injured Ishant Sharma. But it is their batting that hurt New Zealand in the first game. As they did in Sri Lanka, India have continued to shuffle the batting order. Dhoni came in at No 3 in the last game and if you believe Sehwag, New Zealand were caught unawares wondering if Dhoni had come to pinch hit or bat as a regular No. 3. The Indians are incredibly confident but occasionally, as happened during the Twenty20, they become complacent. The twin losses may actually have done India a lot of good.
ODI form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
India - WLWWW
New Zealand - LNLLW
Watch out for ...
Jesse Ryder: He has already become one of New Zealand's key batsmen. He has a healthy strike rate of 80.61 but is yet to successfully convert his starts. New Zealand would hope that Ryder can improve on his average of 31.
Suresh Raina: This series offers Raina another chance to display his consistency. He has begun well; can he carry on? During his injury and absence from the Indian team, Rohit Sharma got a chance but contrived to waste it. In Sri Lanka, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said publicly that Raina is ahead in the pecking order and will get to stake his claim. So far he has done well.
If McCullum plays, Neil Broom is most likely to miss out. Allrounder Grant Elliott, who replaced Nathan McCullum at No 7, and Kyle Mills, who returned from injury, didn't have a great first game but are expected to bounce back strongly. Mills had a good tour of Australia, picking nine wickets at 20.
New Zealand: 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Jacob Oram, 6 Neil Broom, 7 Grant Elliott, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Ian Bulter/Tim Southee, 11 Iain O'Brien, 12 Peter McGlashan
India are not expected to take any risks with Ishant Sharma. Praveen Kumar, the man who replaced Ishant, had a stellar first game but Munaf Patel will have to step up.
India: 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Munaf Patel, 11 Zaheer Khan.
Pitch & conditions
The teams haven't managed to get used to the conditions yet since they practised at the Basin Reserve. The wicket is supposed to be similar to the Twenty20 game - slow and not much seam movement on offer. Rain is expected; watch out for Messrs Duckworth and Lewis to get into the equation at some point.
Stats and trivia
New Zealand have a good record at the Westpac Stadium, winning ten ODIs and losing five. They have won the last five contests at the ground
The team winning the toss has opted to bat first on nine occasions in 16 ODIs at the venue.
"In a five-match series, you need to be at least 1-1 at this point. So we realise how important it is. I suppose we do have a little bit of reputation coming into Wellington for these sorts of games and playing reasonably well. So we are confident that we can bounce back pretty quickly. The position we put ourselves against England when we lost the T20s pretty comprehensively and came back here and played well. It's a ground we enjoy playing at and hopefully all those things move towards a win for us."
Vettori was hopeful ahead of the second ODI
"If we don't lose wickets early,we can easily score 300 in every game [of this series]. New ball is important for us. In the last game we scored 273 off 38 overs, we could have gone on to 350-360 if it had been a 50-over game. Our batting is our strength, and if we can play the new
ball well we invariably manage 280-290 at least.
Sehwag echoes a confident India
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala