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02 Apr 2009 09:46
India have vowed to chase victory in the third and decisive cricket Test against New Zealand starting here on Friday, rather than seal the series by seeking a draw.
India lead the series 1-0 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is adamant his team will be trying for their 100th Test victory instead of a conservative draw that would ensure their first series victory in New Zealand since 1967-68.
“Once you have the mindset of going for the draw, you are not aggressive enough to win a Test match,” Dhoni told reporters after India’s final training session at the Basin Reserve ground.
“We will approach the game in the same way as the first or the second Test.”
One down after the tourists took the first Test in Hamilton by 10 wickets, New Zealand—who put up a massive 619 for nine declared in the drawn second Test—have no choice but to take an aggressive approach.
“I think we realise that a 1-1 series would be a great result for us. And so any opportunity that we can get to win the Test match, I think we have to take,” captain Daniel Vettori told reporters.
He said going for the win was the only option, even if it increased the risk of suffering a second loss.
The big question is whether New Zealand can dismiss India’s talent-laden batting line-up twice.
The bowlers caught India napping in the first innings on a batting paradise at Napier to dismiss them for 305, but India recovered in their follow-on, finishing on 476 for four to salvage a draw.
Vettori says New Zealand’s best chance will be to bowl first and try to dismiss India relatively cheaply in their first innings.
But the Basin Reserve wicket is a bit of an unknown for the New Zealand captain.
“I’ve never seen a Basin pitch like this before,” Vettori said.
“I’ve not seen a Basin wicket as brown as this, or as dry.”
While Dhoni is confident about tactics, he said he is still unsure whether he will play.
He was a late withdrawal from the second Test after suffering back spasms, and while his back now feels much better, no decision will be made until Friday morning.
Dhoni batted in the nets on the Test eve, but it remains an unknown whether he would be able to keep wickets for long periods.
Otherwise India have no problems with injuries.
New Zealand’s only question mark is over batsman Daniel Flynn, who missed the second Test after injuring his hand in the first.
He batted in the nets on Thursday and a final decision will be made on Friday morning.
Their selection quandary is whether Jeetan Patel will stay in the side to partner Vettori as a second spinner or be replaced by another pace bowler.
If New Zealand win the toss and decide on the strategy of taking advantage of any early favourable bowling conditions, Patel would likely miss out.
The 20-year-old pace bowler Tim Southee has returned to the squad after struggling in the one-day series against India, and he will be vying for the final place with Patel and pace bowler Kyle Mills.
The often windy conditions in Wellington may give the bowlers some assistance, and the cool autumn conditions in the New Zealand capital may favour the home team, who have won their last four Tests against India at the Basin Reserve.—Sapa-AFP
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