You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

India, New Zealand set for high-scoring tussle in Mohali

Wisden India logo Wisden India 23-10-2016
© AP Photo

Outside the IS Bindra PCA Stadium in Mohali, there were several people clamouring for a ticket to the third One-Day International between India and New Zealand on Sunday (October 23).

In the space of two minutes, a husband and wife inquired about the tickets, next a group of boys, and then two girls. All while the harsh afternoon sun was beating down on them.

The five-match series is alive and kicking with New Zealand having pipped the home side by six runs in the previous game in New Delhi. Though a good crowd would have turned up to see India play no matter what the situation, that their opposition is no pushover will make the game more enticing.

Suresh Raina, still suffering from a high fever, hasn’t joined the side, but Rohit Sharma was seen batting in the nets. The team physio was seen tending to Rohit as he was holding his bicep in pain in the last game after an attempted drive resulted in an edge that was taken.

Also read: India win 2016 Kabaddi World Cup title

It was the second case of a batsman having cramps on the night, Kane Williamson being the other. The New Zealand captain, en route to his 118 off 128 balls, wasn’t able to lift his forearms properly and even needed help with the fluid intake during the drinks break. After scoring in difficult circumstances, he then got his troops to spiritedly defend 242 to deny India a win.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni believed that had any of the batsmen stayed at the crease for 15 minutes longer than they had, a win was gettable. The Indian limited-overs captain’s words may have also been a gentle reminder for a few of the batsmen in particular: Ajinkya Rahane at the opening position, Manish Pandey at No. 4, Kedar Jadhav at No. 6. This series is essentially a two-week long audition for those spots in the XI, with the next ODI series in January 2017 when England come visiting.

Jadhav has done well in his two outings, looking the most assured at the crease in the second game, while rolling over his arm and getting two wickets in the first. He is a multi-utility player along with Hardik Pandya, and so far both have managed to impress in both facets of their game.

© AP Photo

Rahane and Pandey, meanwhile, have got off to starts but weren’t able to convert them. Though the latter could be given a longer rope with the team management confirming that he is being groomed as the team’s No. 4 batsman, Rahane will need to spend a longer time at the crease than he has so far, with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan the other options available to Dhoni once both are fit.

New Zealand too will want more from their top order. Though in both matches, there haven’t been too many runs from No. 5, 6, 7, it’s usually the top four that have done the job in the past for the side. Martin Guptill will be forgiven, having got a peach of a delivery from Umesh Yadav in the second ball of the innings, and later making up for it on the field diving around and even picking up two wickets when Williamson was simply looking for an over from someone. But Ross Taylor, for his own sanity’s sake, will want to get among the runs, having got off to a start but letting frustration take over.

Also read: When India sorely missed the DRS

Tim Southee said the team wasn’t doubting Taylor’s pedigree and believed that a big score from him was not too far away. “It’s not an easy place to come, he’s had a difficult Test series,” explained Southee. “But Ross is a class batsman. He’s shown that for a number of years. As a cricket player, you go through form slumps. If you play the way he’s played over the years, people expect him to score runs every tour, every time he goes to the crease.

“He’s still working hard at the nets. Ross is obviously disappointed, he’s a senior player and he wants to lead with some runs. We know there’s a big score around the corner for him.”

Mohali has been traditionally a good batting surface, and there will be no sweeter words for batsmen among both teams who are itching to make an impression. Perhaps for the crowd as well. It’s been quite the change to see two low-scoring games, but a more high-scoring game would be a good change of pace for a riveting series so far.

Squads (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Amit Mishra, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Tim Southee.

Slideshow: Most controversial statements by cricketers

Most controversial statements by cricketers

More from Wisden India

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon