New Zealand have started off well by winning the opening ODI but their star batsman Ross Taylor feels India have a good chance to bounce back in the second game in Hamilton on Wednesday as conditions are more likely to favour the visitors.
The Black Caps won by 24 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, but Taylor believes it will only get tougher from here.
“It was a great start for us, a great all-round team performance on Sunday. We all performed our roles exceptionally well and carried our form from the West Indies series, especially the T20s,” said Taylor.
“But India are a very good side and their whole team has got a balance to it. Being the number one team in the world in ODIs, I am sure they will come back in the series,” he explained.
“Hamilton is the slowest wicket we have. So it will be a bit more to their liking. We have two matches here. The wicket plays low compared to the bouncy Napier wicket. But we know the conditions better and we have played here a couple times this season. So hopefully we can play accordingly,” he added, stressing about the conditions at Seddon Park.
It will not just be the pitch alone as it has been raining consistently in Hamilton for two days ahead of the match. The forecast for Wednesday too is cloudy with showers in between, so a full game is looking uncertain at this point.
When asked if the pitch is good enough for a 300-plus score like the last ODI versus West Indies here, should there be a full game, Taylor replied, “Obviously weather will play a big part in that. Duckworth/Lewis method too because it looks like there will be a few showers tomorrow.”
“It will be a bit patchy but obviously we will talk among ourselves and play accordingly. D/L hasn’t been favourable to us in the past, so let us wait and see what happens,” he added.
Taylor was instrumental in helping New Zealand set a platform for a final assault on the Indian bowlers and reach 292/7 in their 50 overs.
He scored his 25th ODI half-century at Napier and put on 121 runs for the third wicket with Kane Williamson, who also got a fifty.
“I would like to carry on my good form. A couple of times against the West Indies, I got run out, but I am comfortable where I am right now with my batting. My role is to bat in that middle order and lay a platform for the guys coming through,” said Taylor.
“We have a few power hitters in the lower order so if I can come out with some donkey work helping them to express themselves, it’s very well. I hope to express myself later on as well and not get out in the power play like I did at Napier.
“I have done this role for a year n half now, especially with the new rules coming in because you need wickets in hand and I relish this role,” he added.
Taylor said the Kiwis have the talent to rise up higher if they manage to remain consistent in the coming one year.
“It is certainly exciting to be part of this batting unit. We are all different batsmen but we have an attacking mindset. We are not still where we want to be as a unit. If we can be more consistent in the next 12-15 months, we will fulfil our potential,” he said.
The Kiwis were able to bounce out four of the top six Indian batsmen, with Virat Kohli’s 18th ODI hundred the only resistance they faced from the visitors. Taylor said it was a well-thought strategy.
“The short balls, yes it was a plan. The wicket in Napier is one of the fastest we have in New Zealand, but even then it was a little bit slower than it normally is. And, Virat is a world class player and he has been for some time now. I have played with him at Royal Challengers Bangalore for a few years,” Taylor said.
“He is an outstanding talent and I have been watching his progress through his career. He’s not far from greatness. When he scores runs, it looks good even when you are playing against him. Hopefully we can get him out early or make the openers bat longer,” he added.
There might be a small hitch in their plans for Wednesday’s ODI since their 21-year-old fast bowling sensation Adam Milne is sidelined with a torn abdominal muscle.
Hamish Bennett has been drafted in the squad in his place. He last played for the Kiwis in the 2011 ODI World Cup in India.
“We were always going to be smart about the way we would have used Adam. Given the slow wicket here, probably Kyle Mills was going to come in anyway. Obviously, it’s a big disappointment for the team and for Adam because he was starting to hit his straps and show the potential he has.
Hopefully we will have him back fully fit soon.
“But that is international cricket and injuries do happen. We do have good fast bowling resources and it bodes well for New Zealand cricket. Hamish looks a fitter and leaner. He’s a strong, hard-working bowler and can bowl consistently around the 145 mark,” Taylor signed off.