India were always going to be the strongest side in this two match mini-series but few could have expected New Zealand’s batsmen to perform so dismally in the opening game in Hyderabad. The travelling Kiwi’s simply had no answer to man of the match Ravi Ashwin who returned figures of 12/85 in a crushing innings victory.
As the two sides head to Bangalore on Friday, the tourists face a tough challenge once again but do they have the resources to avoid another heavy loss? The odds, along with the facts, are stacked against Ross Taylor and his men.
How Bet365 Bookmaker bets on this game:
8/11 India , 6/4 Draw, 14/1 New Zealand
There can be few occasions in a test where one side has acquired odds as high as 16/1 (as the Kiwis are to win this match with Stan James) but the betting seems perfectly justified looking at the statistics from that first game. Kane Williamson was the only NZ batsman to pass 50 in either of his side’s two innings and while the New Zealand bowlers did an adequate job, the attack lacked the penetration needed to bowl a side out twice in a match.
Despite those statistics, skipper Ross Taylor has suggested that the problem lay in his side’s inability to turn starts into big scores. However, those comments are a little hard to justify when you look at the scorecard.
In the first New Zealand innings, all-rounder James Franklin top scored with 43 not out while the next highest scores were 32 and 22 from Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum respectively. It was a similar scenario in the second innings but 22 and 32 aren’t really ‘starts’. In fact, for most of the visiting batsmen it was a struggle just to get into double figures.
There really isn’t the depth in the squad to make any changes in personnel and the fact is that this is the best Kiwi line-up currently available. Daniel Vettori is missing through injury but he would have provided some much needed quality and fight in the middle order and that is what his side badly missed in the first test.
For New Zealand to get a result, they will have to cope much better with Ashwin. Taylor also alluded to this and while he gave credit to Williamson for an impressive display, he claimed that the batters would have to use their feet more and be prepared to dig in for long stays at the crease in high temperatures.
Fortunately for India, there are no such concerns ahead of this match. Prior to the first game in Hyderabad, it would have been easy to suggest that the retirement of VVS Laxman would have affected their batting but a first innings 159 from his replacement Cheteshwar Pujara suggested that Laxman’s position is in good hands.
Along with Pujara this is a formidable Indian side with Gambhir, Tendulkar, Kohli, Sehwag and Dhoni all standing in the way of New Zealand’s attempts to get something from this match and the series.
Overall, if the Kiwis can combat Ashwin then it may be possible to scrape a draw but it is hard to see their bowlers getting through that Indian batting line-up.
Best Bet: India to win the match at best odds of 8/11 with Bet365 Bookmaker