Bald Basin Reserve has Indian cricketers cock-a-hoop

April 1st, 2009 - 6:06 pm ICT by ANI  

Sachin Tendulkar Wellington (New Zealand), Apr.1 (ANI): India’s cricketers, it seems, will have a wicket of their choice when they meet New Zealand in the third and final cricket Test at the Basin Reserve ground here from Friday.

Any prospect of New Zealand pressurizing a pitch to deliberately favour seam bowlers was ruled out after the Indians praised Australian Brett Sipthorpe’s work.

Since arriving in New Zealand in February the Indians have been frequently reminded of the conditions they experienced, and could not counter, on their last tour here during the summer of 2002-03.

New Zealand won that Test series 2-0. The pitches then reduced the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman to mere mortals, but all that is now a fading memory.

Pitches in Hamilton and especially Napier promoted prolific run scoring.

And after his first scan of Friday’s pitch, India’s South African coach Gary Kirsten was impressed.

“We’re very happy with it. What they’ve done all through the tour is produce good cricket wickets,” he said of the test venue’s groundsmen.

“We can see there’s going to be good bounce in it.”

New Zealand, needing a win to prevent India’s winning a series here for the first time since the pioneering side of 1967-1968, were not as impressed though the right overhead conditions could still offer the seamers some assistance.

It should certainly be a more level playing field than McLean Park, where 1400 runs were scored in the drawn second test for only 23 wickets.

History suggests another stalemate is unlikely — there have been only two draws in 10 tests stretching back to March 2002.

The last five have resulted in victories — New Zealand beat Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Bangladesh but lost to Sri Lanka and England.

After presiding over one of India’s longest practice sessions of their visit in blustery conditions, Kirsten bristled at suggestions his side would be under instructions to safeguard their lead.

“We don’t play like that, we don’t do any strategizing about playing for a draw, we want to win every test match,” he said.

“We play flair cricket, we like to take the ball on and play aggressively. There’s a risk element in that but we feel from a batting point of view the team is well balanced.

“We have guys who can bat periods of time too.”

His batsmen displayed the required fortitude during their second innings at McLean Park as they converted a 314-run deficit into a 162 advantage when the second test match was drawn on Monday. (ANI)

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