Back-to-back losses have New Zealand under the pump against India. Ian Anderson examines Five Talking Points ahead of Monday’s third ODI against India.
WHAT’S NZ’S BEST BOWLING LINEUP?:
Even coach Gary Stead isn’t sure.
Colin de Grandhomme got his first run of the new year in Mount Maunganui on Saturday and like most racehorses, a lot more is expected second-up.
Ish Sodhi got an opportunity with Mitchell Santner kept on the sideline as he recovers still from a long-term injury and Doug Bracewell got another shot ahead of Matt Henry, with Tim Southee omitted.
“We’re still in some ways experimenting to find out what our very best team is. That’s an ongoing thing and it will probably change with the conditions as well,” Stead said after New Zealand’s second consecutive thumping by India.
Stead pledged that trying to beat India was a bigger priority for him and his troops than sorting out their squad for the upcoming World Cup, so he’s still trying to get a bead on his best-balanced attack – allowing for the need of an all-rounder or two to perform with the ball.
AND WHEN WILL WE SEE IT?:
Probably not in game three in Mount Maunganui on Monday.
Stead indicated Santner would start, raising the question if we’ll see New Zealand field two spinners. Could the Black Caps play a number of World Cup matches in England and Wales with two spinners? Best to find out soon if that’s a balance that could work.
Southee is likely to be back on Monday – for either Doug Bracewell or de Grandhomme, although spearhead Trent Boult could get a rest, while Matt Henry desperately seeks another chance to stake a claim.
PRESSURE ON COLIN MUNRO:
His place in the side – and at the top of the order – seems secure, despite his critics growing more vociferous as his lack of big scores against quality opposition mounts up.
In 44 ODI innings, Munro has yet to make a ton and while his forte is more blistering strike-rate than weight of runs, only an 87 off 77 balls against Sri Lanka earlier this month stands out in either category over the past year.
He hasn’t looked comfortable. seemingly caught between two stools as to what his role should be.
An option is to push him into the middle-order and open with Tom Latham, but that may be asking too much from the ODI wicketkeeper.
JIMMY NEESHAM’S ‘TIMELY’ INJURY:
After starring against Sri Lanka, it would have been great to see the returning Wellington all-rounder test his wares against world-class opposition.
But a hamstring injury saw him left out of the initial squad for thr first thee games of the five-match series.
Given the results and performances of the first two games, his stocks have simply risen further by dint of omission. Colin de Grandhomme was awful in his return from a short sabbatical and neither NZ’s batsmen nor bowlers have imposed themselves on India.
Neesham has played recently in the domestic Twenty20 competition so it’s likely we will see him in Hamilton and Wellington to judge how he can impact a game against a serious World Cup contender.
INDIA’S OPENING DUO:
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan continue their climb through elite company.
The Indian one-day opening batting duo put on 154 for the first wicket at Bay Oval – their 14th century partnership in ODIs. Add in 13 half-century stands from 93 matches together and the pair sit eighth on the all-time list of opening ODI partnerships of 50 or more with 27.
It’s a list headed by Australia’s Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist (45), one more than India’s best of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who have the most century partnerships (21).
Also sitting above the current Indian combination are the likes of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes (West Indies), David Boon and Geoff Marsh (Australia) and Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.