Dhoni’s team eye history at NapierMarch 25th, 2009 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS
Napier, March 25 (IANS) A confident India is out to script history when they take on New Zealand in the second cricket Test at McLean Park here Thursday.
After overwhelming Black Caps by 10 wickets in the first Test for their first Test win in New Zealand in 33 years, the Indians will do one better if they clinch the second Test as well and go home with a series victory after 41 years.
“We have achieved the first milestone,” Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said Wednesday.”Now it’s important to play the same level of cricket in the second and the third Tests.”
Going by their performance in Hamilton, India should not face much difficulty in dictating the course of the match on a pitch which is considered the best for batting and a graveyard for the home team which has never won a Test here.
To make matters worse for them, the Black Caps are stuggling with form and injuries to key players.
“We are not bothered much about what they’re doing because, frankly speaking, it’s about what we want to achieve,” said Dhoni.
“How we’re preparing ourselves will have a bigger impact on the game rather than thinking about what the opposition is doing.”
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori knows they will have to raise their game few notches up to square the series.
“There are a lot of things we need to quickly improve if we have to have a chance in Napier,” he said.
“The longevity of the Test match game is what’s catching us out. We do things well for maybe a session or two but we are not doing it well enough for four or five. That’s what the good teams do.
“India played so well in that first Test, they seemed to win every key moment.”
New Zealand will make a late choice between Daniel Flynn and Iain O’Brien, both are carrying injuries. To add some variety to their blunt pace-attack, the hosts are likely to play two spinners with Jeetan Patel included ahead of out-of-form paceman Kyle Mills.
Dhoni said the Indian team would probably remain unchanged.
However, there were also some concerns about the pitch following an outbreak of fungal disease that forced the curators to prepare a new strip in 10 days.
The ground staff feel the wicket would be a traditional McLean Park strip,offering assistance to quick bowlers on the first day and helping the spinners on fourth and fifth day.
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