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Despite the pitch, we showed will to fight

It was once again a low scoring game and the ball dominated the bat right throughout the 75 overs of the first one-dayer.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2003 10:26 IST

It was once again a low scoring game and the ball dominated the bat right throughout the 75 overs of the first one-dayer.

The wicket at the Eden Park is a portable one and although it had a brownish look, it did enough to create problems for the batters on both sides. In order to stop the Indian batsmen from scoring runs, the wickets here have been prepared in such a way that they are below the requisite international standards.

Rugby is a very popular sport in New Zealand. It dominates the sporting scene in the country in terms of sponsors and crowd attendance and now a lot depends on how the New Zealand Cricket Board draws people to the cricket grounds. The way the games have gone in this series, they have a difficult job at hand.

Although the wicket had a brownish tinge, it had a spongy effect on it, which made it double-paced and shot making was very difficult. I was surprised at Fleming's decision to field, but he obviously had a better idea about the wicket than I had and had no hesitation in fielding first.

Fleming has in his team bowlers like Oram, Tuffey and Mills who need help from the surface to be successful, and they used the conditions very well. We had quite a few injuries before this game and had to hold back Shiv Sunder Das, because we were finding it difficult to make a final eleven. He scored the most runs in the match, but failed to carry on, which in a way was very important on this wicket.

None of us really got in and although we got out for 108, we knew that their batsmen were out of form and a few early wickets could make this game interesting. Our bowlers bowled splendidly once again and at 52 for 6 we were really in control. The ball bounced and seamed a long way, making life difficult for the batters.

Srinath, who we missed a lot in the Test series, bowled splendidly to take four wickets, but we ended up one seamer short. Bangar missed the game beacause of knee injury and could have been a handy bowler on this wicket.

The second one-day will be played in Napier on Sunday. There was a front page photo of the wicket there in all the newspapers, confirming that the wicket is making more news than the game at the present.

Sachin is struggling with his ankle and looks 50-50 for the game. Bangar is slowly recovering and hopes to be fit.

It is time for us to pull up our socks. But there was one positive for us in the Auckland game - we showed we could fight even after getting dismissed for 108.

First Published: Dec 30, 2002 00:00 IST