IND v NZ, 2nd Test: Wankhede will be another challenge, says Southee

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The manner in which the New Zealand lower order, especially the last wicket pair of Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel, batted and helped the team draw the first Test against India at Kanpur gives the impression that the momentum is with the visitors but senior pacer Tim Southee said that is not the case and the Wankhede Test will be a new challenge.

Chasing a target of 284, New Zealand held on to 165/9, surviving around 10 overs with Ravindra and Patel holding the fort and keeping the Indian bowlers at bay.

So, does he think momentum is on their side after the draw, Southee was asked during a virtual press conference here on Thursday.

“No, I don’t think so. We can gain a lot out of our efforts in Kanpur. As a side, we know the last week’s happened, and we know we should take up the next challenge. The last Test was exciting with all three results possible towards the end of day five. It was great for Test cricket and also for the belief in our side to be able to hang on over there. But it’s going to be a new challenge over the coming five days,” he said.

With Mumbai experiencing a spell of rain on Wednesday and overnight, and more predicted for Friday, it is believed that the conditions may favour the New Zealand pacers. But Southee said as the pitch was under covers, it is not clear how it will behave. “I guess, the wicket has been under covers for a while now. We have to see how that shapes up tomorrow. Hopefully, Gary (Sneed, New Zealand coach) and Kane (Williamson, NZ skipper) have a look at the wicket later this after’oon. It’s a different challenge but we also have to factor in how the wicket would behave for the next five-six days. We have to adapt to it,” Southee said.

New Zealand had beaten India in their lone Test at the Wankhede way back in 1988 and Southee said it was good to know the history and that New Zealand had won, otherwise, that was long back and may not have a bearing on the match starting Friday.

Though the New Zealand middle order did not contribute much to the Kanpur Test, Southee said they were not worried.

“I don’t think so. It can be tough in this part of the world to start. There are periods for both sides, it’s tough. It’s not easy to start in these conditions. Taylor is experienced. A lot of guys haven’t played in these conditions. All are quality players and have shown that they can perform here,” he said.

Southee praised youngsters Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel for their courageous batting in the Kanpur Test and said bowlers too had their separate preparation for facing the Indian spinners.

“Yeah, I think it was a great effort from Rachin to show on his debut. It was great to see him be so calm. He wasn’t fazed by the situation or the pressure of the game. Ajaz too, at the start of his international career. That steady head helped. He has played a lot of cricket at the domestic level. It shows you the courage and the belief within the group,” he added.

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