In the last couple of days Indian cricket fans, or at least most of them, would have been busy with the IPL auctions. They would have been keen on finding out if their favorite franchises were able to buy the best players or not. Not many would have remembered that India is about to play its final game of the series in New Zealand from today itself. On a tour, where nothing has gone right for Dhoni and Co. this test is the last opportunity for the Indians to finally win something and salvage some pride before the Asia Cup and ICC World T20 that are likely to follow. However, the question that needs to be asked here is, will it be possible for India to achieve the unachievable – a win?
For New Zealand, on the other hand this is a golden opportunity to cement its status as a team to watch out for in world cricket in the days ahead. It has a fantastic set of batsmen who are performing now, some decent allrounders in Anderson and Neesham and some exceptional seam and fast bowling talent that can help it become a force to be reckoned with in all forms of the game.
How will the conditions be?
Wellington has always been known as windy Wellington for the howling wind that blows across the ground quite often. It is also among the more conducive wickets for fast bowlers in New Zealand and considering the levels of proficiency shown by Indian batsmen against quick bowling on this tour it would be surprising if the home team did not prepare a well grassed surface for the game. They also have the added incentive of closing the series out on a high and progressing on the test rankings.
How will the teams be chosen?
It is expected that Dhoni will not make much change to the team barring an injury or two to his preferred eleven. However, there is a very minimal chance that he may go for Ishwar Pandey instead of Ravindra Jadeja because of the seaming conditions.
As far as New Zealand is concerned, they will be forced to make a couple of changes owing to various reasons. Since Ross Taylor is expected to become a father for the second time in his life, his place will be taken by debutant Tom Latham. Under normal circumstances Jesse Ryder may have taken his place but following his latest misdemeanor he has been shown the door for the time being. One feels that Martin Guptill could have been given a chance in his place to prove his test credentials but from the looks of it he is presently being regarded as a limited overs specialist.
In the bowling deprtament, bowling allrounder Neesham will replace Sodhi, the young leg spin bowling allrounder. Neesham has himself replaced Doug Bracewell who was implicated in the same incident as Ryder and now finds himself out of the team for the same reason. The reason being given for replacing Sodhi is that the pitch and conditions may not suit his bowling.
One also thinks that the Kiwi team management understands he may provide Indians a certain level of comfort considering they are more adept at dealing with tweakers. It also needs to be remembered that the young leggie had gone for plenty in the second innings when the Indians were chasing.
What could possibly happen in the match?
It is not that the Indian team does not have what it takes to win the second test but considering how they have performed so far and their levels of experience as a team it will not be far-fetched to assume that they may be mentally spent and looking to get over with it as soon as may be possible. However, such situations can also spur individuals to acts of brilliance that can turn games on their head. The hosts, on the other hand, are on familiar territory and momentum is with them thanks to the wins. So, as of now they look the favorites.