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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

The visitors were lackadaisical and Sehwag was terrible with field placing, writes Crowe

Thursday, March 26, 2022
Indians were awful

Well as hoped and as predicted, New Zealand did show more resolve. Winning the toss was important to them and they knew the conditions would be good. And despite a horrific 45 minutes and a bit of luck to Ross Taylor early on they dug in. I thought Jesse Ryder was key to that because he showed a lot of composure.

Ryder was really the man who had the ability to calm Taylor down and once they both got settled in, it was a joy to watch. It was a terrific record partnership, showed how good the wicket is, showed how fast the outfield is, the conditions, the light everything. Great for the New Zealand camp that they were able to produce a wonderful first day through that partnership. It now gives them cause for hope given that they should be able to get up over 400 if not upto 500. With two spinners in their side they might be able to create some pressure through the course of the Test match.

For New Zealand it went according to script. Ross Taylor was desperate to get a hundred. He looked a bit anxious earlier on, but he got through it and posted a really good score. He would be disappointed that he did not get a bit more given the attitude of the Indians. That is what they needed. He is New Zealand's key batsman. But for me the man who set it all up for New Zealand was Jesse Ryder.

Its likely that even at this stage of the Test match it might end in a draw because of the placid nature of the pitch. 

But you never know the way India have gone about today they have been lackadaisical. I have never seen captaincy so bad in terms of field placements as I saw today with Virender Sehwag. Hands in pockets whole day, I think they have just gone through the motion. They have been resigned to the fact that there won't be a result in this game. The fielding was awful.

Munaf Patel was the hero in Hamilton, he was the joker here. He just whacked it half way down and the New Zealanders were able to cash in regularly through point and third man.

So all that was bit of shock and catches went down through the day. They just don't look to be bothered, clearly the loss of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been a massive turnaround for them because their attitude has disappeared completely. For a side that wants to be the No 1 team in the world, I was quite surprised at their whole approach, particularly after lunch.

That's why New Zealand does have some hope that they might pull off an upset over here because maybe India have just fallen asleep.

Obviously Dhoni has got the Midas touch, he has got that ability to motivate the team. But what surprises me is the fact even with Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar on the park they are not able to rally the troops. Sehwag just clearly hasn't got that ability. He is looked to do nothing all day. Zaheer Khan has set most of the fields. There have been some crazy fields being set, a second slip, a fourth slip, a sixth slip, having three men in extra cover. Just some bizarre stuff. Men out saving one, no third man. You name it.

Another example of India's poor attitude was their over-rate which was disgraceful. Considering 32 overs were bowled by spin it is unforgivable. For this they should be punished accordingly.

It will go down as corny capers at its best.