Indian team is flying high on confidence and they will see Napier test as golden opportunity to seal series here itself before going into the last test match. After demolishing New Zealand in the first test match they will try to register a win and do what was happened 43 year back under the captaincy of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi in New Zealand.
Leading the three match series by 1-0, M.S.Dhoni is keen to wrap up the series in Napier and already asked his player to put 100% in this match to achieve the success which many previous Indian touring teams failed to achieve on New Zealand soil.
With winning success rate of 83.33% as a Captain for M.S.Dhoni, it seems that nothing could stop M.S.Dhoni whether it is grassy pitch or bouncy wicket or a batting paradise at McCleanPark.
M.S.Dhoni will be also eyeing second spot ICC test ranking for is team. Interestingly if India (118 points) win the test match at Napier they could possibly replace South Africa (119 points) at second spot. Australia (128 points) is sitting pretty well at top spot after winning the test series against South Africa with 128 points in their bag.
If India able to do that then M.S.Dhoni will be awarded $75,000 on behalf of team India for grabbing the second spot in ICC test ranking for calendar year 2008-09. While Australia will win $125,000 for top spot in Test matches.
Everything seems to be going right for the Indians, with S.Tendulkar looks like playing with full confidence and ease in both forms of the game. He has already scored two big hundreds on this tour so far (163 not out at Christchurch during third OID and 160 during first test match at Hamilton).
Apart from Tendulkar each batsman looks in good knick during first test match Sehwag, Dravid, Gambhir, Laxman as well as Yuvraj and Dhoni which is big worrying factor for New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.
Indian team not only poses strong batting lineup but also have one of the best bowling attack. The third seamer puzzle also seems to be solved for Dhoni as Munaf bowled superbly at Hamilton.
If New Zealand team wants to bounce back in the series then they have to produce something extraordinary to outplay the Indians. Daniel Vettory men’s needs to learn quickly from the likes of Tendulkar inning at Hamilton. His team has to learn how to bat out for more than 100 overs in a test innings. His bowlers need to learn how to tackle the top-order Indian batting lineup. His fielders also need to be on top at Napier otherwise they will not only loose the series but also give India their first series win at New Zealand soil in 43 years.
Watch out for
Virendra Sehwag: He might got run out in the first inning of first test match but he is considered to be one of the most dangerous batsman in the world in any format of the game. After scoring just 24 runs in first test match but he is great player and can bounce back from no where. We can expect a big score from this man in the small cricket ground at McLeanPark, Napier. This is the same ground where he became the fastest century maker for the Indians in ODI and only seventh in world.
D.Vettori: One of the most under rated batsman in New Zealand side when it comes to test cricket but he has shown at numerous occasions by scoring runs for is team. When he has arrived at the crease in Hamilton his side was tottering at 60 for six but he played superb inning of 118 runs to push his team to score of 279 and also picked up two wickets but in bowling department its below par his records. So we may expect him to bounce back both with bat and ball at Napier to lead his team from the front.
Pitch and conditions
On a Pitch which was prepared for the 2nd test match got Fungus growth on it so the surface had been moved two to three feet so that it now included half the original pitch and half of the adjacent one which was used for the one-day game between the India and New Zealand. Pitch is expected to assist the pace bowler in the first inning and then it will be flatten out. Team winning the toss would like to have a bowl first.
The weather looks fine and it’s expected that we will get full five-day game here in Napier.
Stats & Trivia
New Zealand have played 7 test matches at this venue without winning a single test. Five matches have been ended in a draw while in two they have to face defeat by the hands of Sri Lanka and England.
India have only played one test match and that too was ended in a draw.
India is likely to go into the match with same playing XI. After superb performance by all the players during first test match at Hamilton, Indian think management is unlike to make any changes to the squad. With Munaf Patel came well during first test match, Balaji have to wait for him turn for some time.
New Zealand have few worries whether to go with same XI or replace K.Mills with J.Patel. However New Zealand captain D.Vettori hinted that K.Mills is their prime bowler and he hope that Mills will come out top in this match. They have some injury worry also that is why Jamie How got last minute call from selector so if D.Flynn struggles to overcome a hand injury then Jamie How may get game in Napier.
Likely Playing XI for both teams (Match is schedule to begin at India Time and will be Played from 26th – 30th March)
New Zealand Squad: Tim McIntosh, Daniel Flynn/Jamie How, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum (WK), Daniel Vettori (Captain), Kyle Mills, Chris Martin, Iain O'Brien.