Dhoni wins the toss, decides to bowl in first Test

March 18th, 2009 - 6:08 am ICT by IANS  

Chris Martin Hamilton, March 18 (IANS) Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and chose to bowl in the first cricket Test against New Zealand at Seddon Park here Wednesday.
Dhoni’s decision came as a surprise, but he defended it, saying that it is better to bowl when the wicket is fresh and then bat when the conditions are the best on the second and third day.

“It looks a good wicket but if there is going to be anything in it, it will probably be in the first couple of hours or first half session,” Dhoni said.

“We have to get 20 wickets to win and we want to give our bowlers the best chance to get them.The best time to bowl for the seamers is when the wicket is fresh.”

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said he would have batted if he had won the toss.

“We know it’s going to do a bit early on, but once you get through the first couple of hours, the track is good to bat,” he said.

“We decided to back our batsman. There maybe a little bit there in the pitch, but if we get out and do a bit with the bat, we can nullify that.”

New Zealand omitted uncapped seamer Brent Arnel and spinner Jeetan Patel from their 13, retaining fast bowler Chris Martin whose selection had raised a controversy.

India have strengthened their batting by bringing in former captain Rahul Dravid and Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman who were not part of the one-day squad. Both have played hundred plus tests.

After winning the five-match limited-overs series 3-1, their first in this country. India are looking to making it a double by clinching the three-test series they have not won here for 41 years.

The teams:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel. 12th man: Lakshmipathy Balaji

New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Kyle Mills, Iain O’Brien, Chris Martin. 12th man: Jeetan Patel

Umpires: Billy Doctrove (West Indies) and Ian Gould (England). TV umpire: Gary Baxter (New Zealand).

Match referee: Alan Hurst (Australia).

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