Warning India that their nightmarish tour of New Zealand might just extend to the Test series, former New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe said that it will depend on how India's top order, which is heavily dependent on Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, plays against the Kiwi pacers.
"I am predicting the locals will sleep better in their own beds. For India, the nightmare might just continue," Crowe wrote in his column on ESPNCricinfo.
"It will be a fascinating series. Sadly, just as it hots up it will be over. It's a waste. Another example of wayward administration, but let's not go there," Crowe commented on the series of just two Tests. "Instead, let's go to the Tests looking to experience a new breed of excellence: Kohli and Pujara against Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor," he said.
Umesh Yadav takes a tumble while bowling in the two-day warm-up game at Whangarei in New Zealand. (AFP Photo)
"Whoever scores the most hundreds between the four will hold the upper hand, for they will deny and dent the ability of the opposition's attack to clear out both innings to win," Crowe opined.
The former skipper also advised New Zealand pacers on the tactics to unsettle the top-heavy Indian batting. "They [NZ bowlers] have to hit the Indian top order with absolute precision, pace, swing and accuracy, on or just outside stump. They must bowl one side of the wicket, use two lengths - the shoulder-high bouncer with muscle, and the one that hits the top of off stump with pump.
"Anything else will be dispatched or manipulated. And they will need patience from session to session. Dismissing either Pujara or Kohli in under two hours' batting is a dagger in India's heart. If it doesn't come early on, the energy must not drop. This, in essence, is how you win Test matches," Crowe said.
The first Test begins in Auckland on February 6.