India stand-in captain Virender Sehwag believes New Zealand owes their comeback to his butter-finger teammates who need to improve their standard of fielding in the remainder of the second cricket Test.
“The bowlers did well. If we had taken catches,we could have probably taken seven or eight wickets today,” Sehwag said.
“If we had taken Taylor’s catch (when he had made four) it would have been 25 for four,” added the dejected Indian skipper.
New Zealand were reeling at 23 for three when Ross Taylor (151) and Jesse Ryder (137 batting) cobbled a 271-run stand for the fourth wicket to bail the hosts out.
Things could have been worse for the hosts but Yuvraj Singh dropped Taylor at the third slip when the batsman was on four and it proved a costly mistake.
Taylor was on 92 when he got another reprieve and this time it was Rahul Dravid who could not latch on to the difficult chance in the lone slip.
Incidentally,Yuvraj also dropped James Franklin towards the end after the second new ball had been taken. Sehwag said such things happen but the Indians need to immediately lift their standard of fielding.
“This happens in cricket. Some days you catch everything and some days you don’t. But we have to improve our fielding,especially with our catching,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag said it was an honour to lead the side after regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni skipped the match due to a back spasm.
“Dhoni had spasms in his back. He went for MRI. He seems to be okay now,” said Sehwag.
The Delhi batsman,who had earlier stood-in as captain for Rahul Dravid in a victorious match against Sri Lanka at Ahmedabad in 2005,said coach Gary Kirsten told him last night about the possibility of leading the side.
“Gary spoke to me yesterday and told me that Dhoni may not be fit for tomorrow’s game. But said that they would decide before the match,” said Sehwag,who wore Dhoni’s blazer for the toss.
Talking about the opening day’s proceedings,Sehwag said he was not hassled with New Zealand scoring 351 runs for four wickets to make it a highly productive day for them.
“It is a good track to bat on and there is nothing for the bowlers. So hopefully we will do well when we bat. It was a tough day for our bowlers. It is not easy to bowl one line or length because the ball is coming on to the bat”,he said.
“On a fast outfield,if batsmen play their shots and find the gaps,it is very difficult to set the field on a small ground like this one. The cover,square and point boundaries are very short to contain batsmen who play their shots,” Sehwag said.
Lavishing praise on the Kiwi centurions,Sehwag said,”Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder played really well and the partnership (271) was huge. The way they were batting it wasn’t easy to stop them from scoring runs. Harbhajan really bowled well. But there is nothing for fast bowlers. With the ball coming nicely on to the bat and with good bounce,batsman can play their shots.”
Sehwag was hopeful that the wicket would assist spin on the third or fourth day. “We are hopeful it will help spinners at a later stage in the match. Spinner can exploit the bounce on this wicket.”