Kiwis chase history, India unruffled
Land will not be weighed down by history as they head into the series-deciding third and final Test against India, captain Daniel Vettori said today.cricket Updated: Nov 19, 2010 16:50 IST
Land will not be weighed down by history as they head into the series-deciding third and final Test against India, captain Daniel Vettori said Friday.
The Black Caps have only ever won two Tests in India, the last being a 136-run triumph in Mumbai in 1988. With the first two matches of this series ending in draws, Vettori's men have a rare opportunity to pull off a shock result and become the first New Zealand team to win a Test series here in eight attempts.
"We are excited to be in this position," Vettori said at a press conference ahead of the third Test starting here on Saturday. "I think we want to continue all the hard work. We hope we don't get ahead of ourselves. We are not satisfied because once we are satisfied, it will be the start of our downfall. We are hoping to keep improving ourselves."
Vettori admitted the task at hand was far from easy as India would also be desperate to live up to their number one Test ranking, against a side languishing in eighth position. "We are expecting them to be at their best," he said.
"They will come down hard at us. We've played well so far and we are happy with what he have achieved on the field. "But our team will be viewed on the basis of this Test rather than the previous ones, so this Test is the most important for us. There is always talk about expectations from us as the eighth-ranked team in the world. We are hoping to improve on that," he added.
Vettori hoped the wicket at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur would help his bowlers more than the featherbed tracks in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. The Nagpur ground has hosted just two Tests, the last of them in February this year when South African speedster Dale Steyn took a 10-wicket match haul to inflict a humiliating innings defeat on India.
"We can only go by history as far as the pitch is concerned," said Vettori. "Steyn bowled so well here, so we can expect a little more pace but that will unfold as the match goes on." The captain said he would not like to tinker much with the team composition but added that uncapped left-arm paceman Andy McKay could get a look-in.
"It will be wrong for us to try and change things. We are not sure about the pitch here but McKay comes into our calculations." India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni denied his team was under added pressure to force a face-saving win against the underdogs.
"I don't think there is any extra pressure on the side because we are the number one Test team," he said. "We don't read too much into the rankings. If we can take care of the small things, the rankings will take care of themselves."
Dhoni was unperturbed by the rain-interrupted build-up to the match which has forced the Indians to miss out on their practice sessions. "At times it is better not to have a practice session. With the amount of cricket that we have been playing, it is actually a blessing in disguise. "We are geared up for the Test."