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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

Crowe hails Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s outfit as ‘professional, clinical and totally in charge’

Monday, April 06, 2022
India closer to no.1

India have more than enough and there is no need really to carry on batting on Monday morning. But one senses that having taken the offer of bad light they will bat on for one more hour and be close to 600 in front. 

The only reason why I believe they should declare now is because in Wellington you never know when bad light and bad weather sneaks up on you.

So while they have plenty of time to still wrap up the Test and claim a 2-0 series win, in Wellington I would still err on declaring now. This way India can ensure that there is plenty of time with them even if the elements pose some problems.

Having said that India are in a position of strength and they can do what they like. They are securing a series win in New Zealand after 40 years and will cement that further if they carry on batting on Monday morning.

But in reality they could pull out now and comfortably win the match given the form of both teams. New Zealand batted for only 65 overs in the first innings. While they will do better second time around, I cannot see them batting beyond 100 overs given that thee is still something in the pitch.

We saw that today when Iain O'Brien bowled with the second new ball and scalped Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman.

Gambhir continues to grow from strength to strength. In the second innings he showed he can move quickly from saving a Test to setting one up a victory with a mixture of lovely strokes all around the wicket and some solid defence.

Before lunch today, Rahul Dravid and Gambhir were dominant and in delightful touch.It was therefore a surprise to see Dravid pre-meditate a stroke with the leg-side ramp shot. It clearly gave Brendon McCullum a chance to intercept the shot and pull off a miraculous catch.

"Gambhir continues to grow from strength to strength" © AFP
Dravid may never play again in New Zealand, but he has shown that even though he is not as prolific as Gambhir he is certainly as consistent by scoring a 60 once again, Dravid the player can continue for two-three more years given his health ad fitness plus his hunger for runs.

Selectors seem to have given respect to Dravid by giving time to annouce his retirement and it is possible that he can bat on literally till the age of 40. With so many strokeplayers in the Indian team, why not continue to have the Wall to provide that solidarity and consistency and assist his team towards rising to that No 1 ranking in Tests.

Wth regards to race to that No 1 spot, we saw a glimpse of it today when in another efficient day's work they were professional, clinical and matter of fact and totally in charge.

I wouldn't be surprised if they wrap up the Test before stumps on Day 4.