Makeshift opener Luke Ronchi, the New Zealand backup wicketkeeper, struck a century as the visiting side used the final day of the three-day warm-up tie against Mumbai on Sunday for whatever practice it could get.
The Feroz Shah Kotla pitch played slow but didn’t provide any of the turn and unpredictability the Kiwis expect in Kanpur’s Green Park, venue of the first Test starting on Thursday.
After the Kiwi batsmen tackled spin on the first day and their spinners practised bowling quicker through the air the next day in a bid to pin batsmen to the crease, the tail-enders were tested on the final day before the game was drawn.
Guptill fails again
After Mumbai declared on 464/8, left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner walked in at No.3. Though Martin Guptill fell early, fellow opener Ronchi, a dependable lower order bat, scored 107. Tail-enders Doug Bracewell and Trent Boult too spent time at the crease.
Guptill’s shaky form coming into the tour --- he scored 15 and nought in the warm-up --- means Ronchi remains an option to open.
“They (tail-enders) are very capable of doing that. In the Test matches, we are going to need everyone to contribute to win games. So the more you can gain from this sort of situation, the more you can bat with them and talk to them while they are batting, you can learn some things, you might be able to teach a few things as well,” Ronchi said.
With the Kanpur wicket also expected to assist spin, the Kiwi lower order took steps to bat accordingly. On Sunday, Santner, Bracewell and Boult kept charging down the track to disturb the spinners. Boult also tried playing reverse sweeps and got some quick runs.
“We have had training sessions in a three-day game, which is really good. We have got some net sessions left before the first test. The batters will try to hit as many balls as possible in the nets, and the bowlers will work out game plans so you go into game with confidence,” Ronchi said.
Brief scores: New Zealanders 324 & 235 (L Ronchi 107, BJ Watling 43, P Valsangkar 3/15, V Gohil 2/61, S Lad 2/11) v Mumbai 464/8