New Zealand prepare for sharper India lineup

AARON GOILE
Last updated 15:22 21/01/2014
MIKE SCOTT\Fairfax NZ

After their win in Napier the New Zealand cricket team are wary of a formidable backlash from India.

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The Black Caps are bracing for an Indian fightback in tomorrow's second ODI in Hamilton.

Up 1-0 in the series after an excellent 24-run win in the opening match in Napier on Sunday, New Zealand are aware the visitors are going to come back hard.

"They'll be better for the hit-out and I'm sure them being the No 1 one-day team in the world, they'll come back bigger and stronger, Black Caps batsman Ross Taylor said.

India didn't have a warmup game in New Zealand before the series so now that they've got a taste of their surroundings, they should be sharper.

And they are set to find conditions more to their liking at Seddon Park tomorrow, with the pitch expected to be a fair bit slower than than that at McLean Park.

That will bring spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja into play, while India's batsmen should be a bit more at home in being able to settle more on the front foot, after the battering they got with the short ball in game one.

"The wicket in Napier is probably one of the fastest wickets that we have in New Zealand," Taylor said. "It was probably a little bit slower than what it normally is, it was probably prepared a couple of days earlier for whatever reason.

"But this wicket here is a little bit slower and there probably is going to be one boundary that is going to be a little bit bigger than the other, so we need to be smart in the way we do approach that."

That could mean the slower short balls came into the plans on a ground where New Zealand were hammered by the West Indies in the final game of that ODI series this month, Taylor said.

The fourth ODI of this series will also be played in Hamilton.

Taylor, who is coming off a knock of 55 off 82 balls which included just one four, is comfortable with his batting form and believes he's not too far away from where he'd ideally like to be with his one-day game.

"I think my role is to bat in that middle order and set the platform for the guys coming through," he said.

"We know we've got the power hitters in Brendon [McCullum], Corey [Anderson] and Ronchs [Luke Ronchi].

"If I can do a little bit more of the donkey work and let them come out and express themselves later on [I'd be happy]. I hope to do the hard work and express myself afterwards as well, and not get out in the power play like in Napier. I'm happy with that role and hopefully it can continue throughout the series."

With Adam Milne ruled out for six weeks with an abdominal strain, Canterbury paceman Hamish Bennett has been called into the team and trained with them yesterday, though it's likely Kyle Mills will come into the playing XI.

Taylor said it was a big disappointment to lose Milne, who clocked over 153kmh in Napier, but the Black Caps had to be smart in how they used him. Mills would probably have come in on this wicket anyway.

It has been drizzling in Hamilton over the past two days, but the weather has fined up for the New Zealand players to train outdoors this afternoon.

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Tomorrow's forecast is for mostly cloudy skies, with a few showers from afternoon.

"The rain radar hasn't been favourable to us in the past with telling us it's going to rain and it doesn't and vice versa," Taylor said. "But we'll have to have to wait and see."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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