He might be a catching machine behind the stumps but New Zealand's cricketers need their defiant gloveman to produce one of his broad bat specials to help save this test.
BJ Watling snared five Indian catches yesterday in the tourists' innings of 438 which gave the tourists a stranglehold on the second test. It gave him a remarkable 22 grabs from his past five test innings, not that it really mattered in a gloomy home dressing room.
At 1-0 up in the two-match series, and shooting for their fourth straight test victory, New Zealand trail by 222 with nine second innings wickets in hand and three days to play.
"Obviously it's not ideal. We got ourselves into situations where if we'd taken another wicket or two we could have been chasing 100-150. It's a disappointing result but we've still got three days to grind it out and it looked a lot better to bat on today, it didn't swing or seam as much as day one," Watling said.
"It's going to be a huge challenge to bat for a long time and get ourselves back in the game. [Ishant] Sharma is bowling really well and so is [Mohammed] Shami and Zaheer [Khan] is very experienced and will hit some good areas. We've got to soak it up in the morning for an hour and just bat for a long time.
"I don't think there's too many demons in the wicket, it should probably be at its best [today]."
Watling gave credit to Ajinkya Rahane (118) who scored his maiden test century and visiting skipper MS Dhoni who counter attacked and helped him add a crucial 120 in quick time for the seventh wicket. "That partnership was the difference between an OK day for us and good day for them." Rahane, meanwhile, credited the influence of Indian batting great Rahul Dravid, his role model, with his breakthrough ton in his ninth test innings. He admitted the Basin Reserve pitch was much friendlier than day one but still backed his bowlers.
"First day was really helpful for the bowlers but today there was a little bit of help for the bowlers but not that much. We have to be very patient and bowl in the right areas. Obviously the Kiwis are under pressure so bowlers are doing a really great job," Rahane said.
- Sunday Star Times
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