Despite Indias batting collapse in the Auckland ODI,the chief groundsman at Seddon Park,Karl Johnson,isnt planning to go easy on the lawn mower ahead of the first Test. You have to remember that India have a fine pace attack, he says.
However,there may not be too much of a respite for the batsmen as the wicket is tipped to offer a fair amount of bounce. The pitch wont seam much but there will be good carry initially. The spinners will come into play on the last two days, says Johnson.
Still,despite Harbhajan Singh getting good purchase from the pitch during the ODIs here,its unlikely that either team will play two spinners. While India have part-timers such as Yuvraj Singh to assist Harbhajan,the Kiwis dont have two quality turners.
Meanwhile,the hosts,too,are looking for a sporting wicket. Ask new-ball bowler Ian OBrien if he will prefer an Auckland type wicket,and he sounds non-committal. Yes and no. Not necessarily the seam movement,but the bounce,yes. It would be nice to get a deck that has good carry.
Coach Andy Moles says: The pitch in Auckland had bounce so the Indians were not able to bat freely. But Tests are different. Theyve a different set of batsmen.
With the shorter version over,OBrien is looking forward to the classical contest between the bat and ball. In Tests you can bowl to individual plans for longer periods. When you have got more traditional batters,it makes my job easier, he said.