India deemed favourites in Test series against Kiwis

March 17th, 2009 - 5:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Sachin Tendulkar

Hamilton (New Zealand), Mar.17 (ANI): With New Zealand flunking in their first test against the much vaunted Indian batting line-up, bookies believe that India has a chance to alter its abysmal Test record in this country.
The task before the Kiwis appears quite formidable, given that apart from Sachin Tendulkar, they also have to deal with the broad and scything blades of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
The destructive Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh are the others that the Black Caps have to be wary about.
New Zealand has only 52 caps between them, and 23 belong to all rounder James Franklin. Indias tally is a huge 502.
Ross Taylor has New Zealand’’s highest current aggregate of 862 runs; the indomitable Tendulkar, who will also bat at four, dwarfs him with a world record 12,429.
India’’s top six have amassed 38,089 runs around the globe, New Zealand — with opener Martin Guptill on debut — a mere 2488.
Confronted with those figures, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori viewed the gulf in experience enviously.
“If you look at the Indian top order it’’s very impressive through their weight of games and their weight of runs. We going to need a lot of guys within our team, not just one or two stepping up to give ourselves a chance.”
Well-beaten 3-1 in the ODIs, Vettori was taking little comfort in India’’s poor test record in New Zealand since they triumphed 3-1 in 1968.
That success doubled as India’’s first series win outside the sub-continent, but since then New Zealand has been a notoriously difficult place to tour.
Their last test victory was at Eden Park in 1976. Subsequently New Zealand has built a 13-test unbeaten record — and for India the nadir was a 2-0 loss in 2002-03.
The practically unplayable combination of Shane Bond and green, seaming wickets placed a much-vaunted Indian batting line-up on the back foot in Hamilton and Wellington.
Six seasons on, Bond is confined to the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) while the pitch prepared for tomorrow’’s opener also appears to favour the visitors.
Encouraged by his bowlers” success on a lively wicket at Eden Park, Vettori hoped for more of the same on his home ground — but was hardly enthusiastic.
“It looks pretty flat, a good batting wicket and that’’s an advantage for India,” he said. (ANI)

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