India look to seal series against New Zealand

March 10th, 2009 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Hamilton, March 10 (IANS) India will look to seal the five match one-day series when they take on hosts New Zealand in the fourth encounter at Seddon Park here Wednesday.
India lead the series 2-0. However, they would miss the presence of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar who bruised his abdomen during his brilliant unbeaten 163 to pilot the visitors to a 58-run win in Christchurch Sunday.

History does not back India who have lost all their five matches here, including two against New Zealand. On the contrary, the hosts enjoy a favourable record at Seddon Park, losing just one out of their 12 clashes.

The absence of Tendulkar means Gautam Gambhir will get to open the innings, while Rohit Sharma slots himself in the Indian middle order.

With the pitch likely to support the batsmen, the bowlers can once again expect a hard day on the field. The boundaries might not be as short as in the previous two matches in Christchurch and Wellington but they are not big enough to give batsmen any trouble either.

New Zealand would be boosted by the return of their captain Daniel Vettori, who missed the third ODI to be with his pregnant wife. His presence would lift the morale of the team particularly bowlers, who were torn apart by the Indian batsmen in the previous match.

The Indians came heavy on Tim Southee, who conceded 105 runs off 10 overs. The 20-year-old has expectedly been dropped from the 12-man squad.

Uncapped all-rounder Ewen Thompson has been called up with the hosts all geared up to attack and keep themselves alive in the series.

For India, Praveen Kumar has been effective in patches, but lacks consistency while Zaheer Khan is yet to bowl to his potential. But a good thing for the visitors is that Munaf Patel, who has just made the comeback, has started to find friends.

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