New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum today said the hosts will go for the kill in the second and final cricket Test against India to send the visitors empty-handed from the tour. The second Test will start at the Basin Reserve here tomorrow. The hosts lead the two-match series 1-0, after winning the opener at Auckland by 40 runs.
McCullum said his team will be going for the jugular to maintain the rage against the struggling Indians. "We allways play to win. That's how we will look to try and operate in this match as well and hence the selections we have made are trying to play to our strengths and we think the pace and the bounce that we will be able to generate from this wicket will play to our advantage," McCullum said at the pre-match press conference.
The selection he was referring to was regarding the playing eleven for New Zealand, which has already been named ahead of this second Test.
Ross Taylor will miss the match owing to the birth of his second child, while Ish Sodhi has been dropped considering a green wicket. Tom Latham will bat at number four and James Neesham comes in for Sodhi, both playing their first Test. "We have two debutants tomorrow. Ross's situation is that he is obviously ruled out of this game. Family comes first and Tom Latham will come into replace him. It will be a straight swap and he will bat number four.
And we just think with this wicket, the best method of attack against the Indian side is to roll out another seamer, so Jimmy Neesham comes in for Ish Sodhi as well," he said. "Kane Williamson will be our spin option. But we have got five other bowling options. Hopefully, his role with the ball will not impact too much his ability to bat at number three for us," he added.
This brings the pitch into focus and it is expected to be similar to the one rolled out for the Test versus West Indies in December. New Zealand won that match by an innings within three days, yet another boost for them. "I think the pitch looks a little bit greener than what we had against the West Indies. It looks a bit harder as well.
We expect a bit of pace and bounce and bit of sideways movement too. Although what worked for us best against the West Indies was the ability for us to swing the ball in the air, so if there's not too much wind the ball seems to swing here. That's what is forecast for the next few days and hopefully we will be able to generate that swing and obviously that will be a key attacking weapon for us," said the skipper.