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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

Gambhir played with a lot of poise, composure and patience, writes Crowe

Monday, March 30, 2022
India has now two Walls

It was a terrific game, because New Zealand lifted and it was important for them and it was important for the series. It was heartening because they responded to their very bad loss at Hamilton. They made the adjustments from the one-dayers to the Test match by virtue of that very harsh lesson they were dished out by a very good Indian team at Hamilton.

We saw the Kiwis dominate the first three days. They tried hard on Day 4, but they just didn't have the ability and the skill factor to knock over The Wall.

But it now looks like there are two Walls now, the left-handed Wall.

It was an amazing innings by Gautam Gambhir, because you kind of think of him as a dasher, fiery little customer. But he played with a lot of poise, composure and patience. 

He will have learnt a lot about himself during his 642 minutes at the crease. He knew one mistake would have possibly opened the door for New Zealand. So he shut that door emphatically and on he went. He was unlucky to be given out. I guess when you bat that long you are bound to have something go against you. He should be very proud.

VVS Laxman is just a class act. He is not only VVS, he should have VC written next to his name.

Yuvraj would be pleased to have got some practice for the next Test.

Overall, India are in front and they are now going to be very difficult to beat in Wellington. I can't see them being not so much complacent, but they just took their eye off a little bit here, but they won't do that in Wellington. They should therefore be hard to beat, so they should be able to wrap up the series in Wellington.

Lot of good quality cricket throughout the five days, great weather, great pitch, almost too good really. The outfield was fast and McLean Park is a lovely place to play.

It will go down as one that was very close for New Zealand, but they were not quite good enough.

It will have an impact on New Zealand's team morale. They will feel that they won't get into those situations too often. They will be tired too, you can see that in the last afternoon with dropped catches and some loose bowling. But it will just be the fatigue and how they respond in three days is going to be difficult.

That's why I would bring in Tim Southee, who will have some fresh legs, promote Brendon McCullum upto No 6, Daniel Vettori to 7 and make James Franklin the 12th man. This is just to give them some specialist opening bowler. Iain O'Brien could come in first change, keep the spinners and Daniel Flynn would naturally come back into the No 3 spot now that he is over his little problem with his hand.

So that's I would do for Wellington, but they should just really rest and relax. They should think positively about what they have achieved here.

For the 8th ranked side in the world, to take this great Indian side as far as they did, they should be mentally pleased with the way they have gone and look forward to Wellington.