The second Test starts off with India holding the advantage by a distance. If New Zealand are to put up a better show, than what they did in Hyderabad, they will need to raise their game by many notches.
New Zealand will need to lift their game several notches if they are to put up a better fight in the second Test. Gurpreet Singh/HT
I am sure Ross Taylor and Co must have used the days in between the two Tests
to sort out their game on Indian soil, and must have discussed what they did in the first Test and what they need to do in the second. The talks must have centered on playing with uninhibited minds and also about handling the spin duo of Ojha and Ashwin.
Winning the toss will be the key as that will take away the thought of facing the India spinners in the fourth innings.
This is expected to be a different surface. It has rained a lot in the last few days, which will help in holding the surface better. So, New Zealand can expect less turn than Hyderabad. But you never know till the first ball of the match has been bowled.
New Zealand batters will need to show mental strength and be wary of soft dismissals against the turning ball. Their shot selection will need to be precise and decisive. There will probably be two changes in their team, one the keeper and the other probably Flynn. I don't know how good a reserve bench they have but Taylor and Co will have to come out with something special.
From India's point of view, there will be no change in the XI, and Dhoni and his boys will be eager to make a clean sweep.
The top four batters will be hungry to cash in on the New Zealand bowling. Sehwag, Gautam and Sachin haven't got a hundred in Tests for some time now, which is against their nature and class of batsmanship.
So, if any of them gets through the early phase of their innings, they will make life difficult for the Kiwis.
The India bowling looks an organised unit. Zaheer is warming up well for the long season ahead and young Umesh is a good understudy. The spinning duo is on song. Ashwin will be the cynosure of all eyes, after his performance in Hyderabad, but one mustn't forget Ojha, as he is bowling well and is keeping up the pressure from the other end.
360 Corporate Relations the writer is a former India captain