With Sanjay Bangar's injured hand not healing quickly enough, the chances of Shiv Sundar Das playing in the second Test gather strength with each passing day.
The Indian team management, however, will wait till the morning of the Test to see whether Bangar is fit or
Interestingly, though Das had not been regularly batting at the nets, he got into the act when he saw the possibility of a look-in.
He was involved in a long chat with Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday and the Orissa lad was visibly happy following the session.
Agarkar too is having trouble with the injured middle finger of his right hand and did not bowl. If he is not fully fit, Ashish Nehra will play. There is, however, no doubt about Tinu Yohannan's chances, and he will definitely play in the second Test.
Locals insist that the track here is quicker than Basin Reserve, something that doesn’t auger too well for the Indian batsmen, given the way they played in Wellington. VVS Laxman however, will be persisted with, as will Virender Sehwag.
Coach John Wright is understandably worried. "I was hoping that New Zealand would see what the Indian batsmen are capable of, but they did not apply themselves in Wellington. I have told them they have to concentrate more."
Wright's discomfiture seemingly has much to do with the fact that his wards are doing so badly in his home country. In India, he would probably have been booed in a similar situation, but the Kiwis, mercifully, have not been so cruel.
Wright obviously, is embarrassed by the spineless performance against his own country.
He has become extremely vocal about his opinion of the Indian team’s performance. His views are all the more stark in the backdrop of Sourav Ganguly’s silence following his own loss of form.
Having discovered India's weak nerve in the first Test, New Zealand Cricket has made a special request to prepare a pitch full of pace and bounce for the Hamilton Test, add agencies.
"They rang on Sunday and told me to make something that was as fast and bouncy as possible," said groundsman Doug Strachan.
The track should delight the home seam attack and leave the tourists nervous following the Wellington debacle. The only thing that might go against New Zealand's plans is the weather --- it rained heavily in the afternoon here on Tuesday and more thundershowers are predicted on the first two days of the Test.
But Strachan believes that even two-three days’ play should be enough to produce a result.
"The weather might prove a bit of a spoilsport but I hope even two-and-half days should be enough for a result," he said.
"The pitch will look green but I hope they (the Indians) don't get spooked by it. New Zealand has the psychological edge after Wellington but teams have proved it can be a very good batting track because of the bounce."
New Zealand team manager Jeff Crowe felt that the pitch might also help the spinners if the weather held good and there is sunshine.
"This one here appears green but it's always a much harder surface underneath. Depending on the overhead conditions, if we have this weather for next couple of days, it will certainly help the seam bowlers. But if we see some nice and fine conditions, the wicket might even offer some turn," Crowe said.
The promise of turn has made New Zealand's top spinner, Daniel Vettori, who didn't get a bowl in the first Test, hopeful that he would play a part in his team's attack in the second game.
"I want to take wickets and join in the fun. I'll definitely get a bowl at Hamilton. The wicket will be good and it's not bad to bowl spin on," said Vettori.
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