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Conditions are too alien

The playing conditions in India have prompted some of the Black Caps to wonder if we are playing in India in a parallel universe, writes Chris Cairns.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2003 01:10 IST

The playing conditions here in India have prompted some of the Black Caps to wonder if we are playing in India in a parallel universe, so foreign are the conditions!

After the first match we had against Aussie we thought the swing and seam would be a one-off situation and one that we could think we were unlucky to be on the receiving end.

As we looked at the wicket on the morning of the game, again the wicket seemed damp and had a large covering of grass. The toss was going to be crucial, as it would give first use and advantage to the fielding side.

Ponting called correctly and from where I was watching I could see wry smiles from both captains. We knew it was going to be hard work for our top order and Stephen Fleming showed the way with his discipline in very trying conditions.

When I went in at 20 for 4 my style of play was not going to change. I will always like to take the game to the bowler and when you play on a wicket where any delivery could have your name on it, sometimes being aggressive can work in your favour.

After my dismissal, Jacob Oram joined the captain to advance our precarious position. Oram is a player of immense promise. His size and presence added to his power and make him one for the future.

I was glad to see him obtain a big score on Monday as confidence is a huge part of the game and with his batting Jacob needs a few innings at this level to gain that self belief that will take into the category of leading all-rounders.

I definitely belief one day he can be the best. With Jacob playing strongly our keeper MacCullum played an excellent foil and helped us score a total we would only have dreamed of after 10 overs.

The Aussies conceded something like 35 wides, which at this level is very odd.

There can be a little latitude allowed for the movement but 35 would be something they were unhappy with and something we knew we had to make them pay for. At 60 for 4 we had Aussie on the back foot.

Bevan and Clarke then took the game back to us and although Clarke looked scratchy at the start of his innings he played some excellent shots and kept the run rate going.

As the game unfolded and wickets began to fall we had chances to take the game away from the Aussies but some fielding lapses meant we gave the opposition the chance to stay in the game.

On reflection some may say we did very well just to get ourselves in a position to win the match but within our camp we know we have let Australia off the hook.

We now need at least two wins from our last three matches and at this stage it's looking like a battle between ourselves and India. A great challenge indeed.