NZ fearful of another series defeat

Black Caps skipper frustrated at lack of big scores as his side prepare to face India in the deciding Test in Bangalore.

    NZ fearful of another series defeat
    Opener Brendon McCullum, above, scored 42 in the first Test but the team need bigger scores, according to skipper Ross Taylor [Reuters]

    New Zealand captain Ross Taylor has expressed his frustration at the failure of the Black Caps batsmen to turn starts into big scores as the team prepares for the second Test against India in Bangalore starting Friday.

    New Zealand are hoping to avoid a second successive 2-0 series loss, and after being bowled out for just 159 and 164 in the two innings of the first Test - which the visitors lost by an innings and 115 runs - Taylor knows where the improvement must come from.

    Kane Williamson scored 32 and 52 in the first Test, while opener Brendon McCullum scored 42 in an innings of uncharacteristic restraint in the second, but Taylor said more is required of a team that he said lacked technique and resolve.

    Improvement needed

    "We're not big players using our feet, so we need to create lengths in different ways. Kane and Brendon applied themselves really well for a long period of time and showed that it can be done.

    "But on the flipside, we do need to look forward and see that – even though it is a two-match series, we can still draw the series. That's the good thing about a two-Test series,'' he said.

    The batting line-up also failed to fire in the 2-0 series loss to the West Indies, and Taylor said that was part of a long-term trend.

    "When you're only getting fifties, sometimes it might be enough but more often than not it won't be,'' Taylor had said after the series defeat in the West Indies.

    "If you go through the last 15-odd years, our guys have been scoring a lot of fifties but they haven't been going on to score those hundreds and hundreds are what put you in a position to win.''

    By contrast, India was pleased by the performance of their top-order, who are adjusting to life without retired stalwarts Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman.

    No.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara's knock of 159 helped India to a first innings total of 438, after which New Zealand succumbed to the spin of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (12-85) and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (6-92).


    India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised Pujara for holding the innings together and giving the captain a chance to enforce a follow-on.

    "It was important for Pujara as he was coming after an injury,'' Dhoni said.

    "He's someone used to playing big, long innings. He has a good temperament, he can play for long periods, and the stroke-makers can play around him.''

    Ashwin, whose career-best figures fetched him the man-of-the-match award, said the team were back to winning ways after a dismal previous season in which they lost eight consecutive Tests abroad in England and Australia and also lost their No.1 Test ranking.

    "As a whole the team had a tough year but it happens with every team,'' Ashwin said.

    "We've put that behind and we are starting on a good note. Hopefully we can continue and have a great season.''

    Both England and Australia are due to tour this season for four Tests each, which is being seen as a chance for revenge by India.



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