Brendon Mccullum did not have the best of days in his debut as captain but he was quick to admit that his team were outgunned by India. “The way they batted was amazing,” said McCullum. “From our perspective we are strong chasers. We didn't bowl well early on, but with the quality of players they have, it was tough to contain them.”
“It was a pretty good innings,” he chuckled, describing Sachin Tendulkar's century. “I can hardly remember a shot that didn't come out of the middle. There were times that he played with a half blade and hit precisely in areas that he wanted to. I don't think I have seen too many better innings in any form of the game. It wasn't until he started walking off that a double century seemed out of reach. The ease with which he was playing, the double hundred was certainly a possibility.”
McCullum said that run outs at the top of the order hurt his team badly. “We knew we had to have two guys have their day. Once Jesse and I put on 100, it started to seem if we could put a 100 on top of that we would have a chance. A couple of run-outs is always frustrating. If Jesse and I had gone on for another 10 overs, the game may have panned out a little bit differently. But you had got to be aggressive from ball one, but we weren't accurate enough with the ball in those middle stages."
The stand-in captain admitted that his team was occasionally rendered clueless by India's power hitting. “They were lost and uncertain about how they were going to restrict their aggressiveness,” he said of his bowlers. “As a bowler, you know if you get it slightly wrong, you will disappear. That plays on the mind.”
New Zealand obviously missed Daniel Vettori badly, not just as captain but also as bowler. “He has played 240 games. It would have been great to have him out there. To have had his ten overs would have been fantastic,” he said.
Test specialists have a quiet day
India’s Test specialists, who played their respective New Zealand State Championship matches, had a quiet Sunday as their team-mates lit up Christchurch. Rahul Dravid took a catch, Amit Mishra scored 11, Lakshmipathy Balaji picked up a wicket and VVS Laxman did not get his name on the scoreboard as his team fielded. Brief scores:
At Rangiora: Canterbury Wizards: 543 all out; Central Stags: 263 all out; and 191/4 in 59 overs (G Worker 36, M Sinclair 33, T Weston 45 n.o, G Hay 33 n.o.).
At Dunedin: Otago Volts: 174 all out and 286 all out (G Todd 73, VVS Laxman 44, M Burns 2-55, Balaji 2 for 55, L Woodcock 4-70) vs Wellington Firebirds: 139 all out and 74/2 in 20.5 overs.