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India On Verge Of History In 3rd Test

By on April 2, 2009

gary kirsten

India cricket coach Gary Kirsten says his side will be playing to win when the third test begins Friday, despite needing only a draw to clinch its first series win in New Zealand in 41 years.

After beating New Zealand by 10 wickets in the first test at Hamilton and drawing the high-scoring second test at Napier, India can clinch the three-test series with a win or draw at the Basin Reserve. India’s win at Hamilton was its first test win in New Zealand since 1976 and the tourists remain in pursuit of their first test series win here since 1968.

Kirsten, a former South African test opener, said it was not in the nature of the Indian players to look for a draw and his team would play positive cricket.

“We certainly don’t do any strategizing around playing for a draw,” he said. “We want to go and win every test match and that’s going to be our intention in this one. We play that way, we play flair cricket. We like to play aggressively.”

Only two of the last 10 tests at the Basin Reserve have been drawn. Kirsten has already declared himself happy with the pitch, which is likely to provide the pace and bounce that suits both India’s batsmen and bowlers.

“Whatever the wicket or the conditions, it is up to the performances on the day. New Zealand have shown they were really competitive in the last test match. We had to use all our determination to save the game, which we did really well.”

India has yet to confirm whether captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who missed the second test because of back spasms, will be fit to play. Virender Sehwag led India at Napier, while Dinesh Karthik took Dhoni’s place behind the stumps.

Dhoni’s return is likely to prompt the only change to the Indian XI from the second test.

New Zealand has recalled youthful seamer Tim Southee to its 13-man squad for the match and No. 3 batsman Daniel Flynn is likely to play after missing the Napier test with a hand injury.

Southee, 20, may vie with offspinner Jeetan Patel to join captain and left-arm orthodox spinner Daniel Vettori for a place in New Zealand’s match XI, although selectors have not chosen to use two spinners in its last 11 tests at Wellington.

New Zealand will rely to a small extent on cold and windy conditions, typical of Wellington, to play a part in suppressing India’s enthusiasm.

“If we find it cold here, no doubt they will be freezing,” New Zealand vice-captain Brendon McCullum said. “I am sure from their point of view they will be hoping that the wind dies down and the sun comes out.

“But from ours, it will be great to have them on the park when the conditions are like this. I am sure we are going to find the conditions a little bit more pleasurable than they would.”

McCullum said New Zealand had taken heart from its competitive performance in Napier.

“When you have come off a 10-wicket loss in the first test, your confidence is really dented,” McCullum said.
“When you respond the way we did, particularly after being three for 23 on the first day, and come back and put ourselves in a position from where we could force a result, is a pretty good sign for the team.”

Lineups (from):

New Zealand: Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori (captain), Kyle Mills, Jeetan Patel, Iain O’Brien, Chris Martin, Tim Southee.

India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, M.S. Dhoni (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Lakshmi Balaji.
Umpires: Simon Taufel and Daryl Harper, Australia.

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