Bangalore: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he is wary of New Zealand's pace attack on a pitch that may help seam bowling in the second Test at the Chinnaswamy Stadium from Friday.
"New Zealand is a good bowling side and can do well on this wicket and in overcast conditions," Dhoni said on Thursday. "They will come up with good bowling plans and execute their plans well. Hyderabad was different as there was not much in the pitch there for fast bowlers."
Left-arm pace bowler Trent Boult was New Zealand's most successful seam bowler in the first Test at Hyderabad with a haul of 3 for 93, while off-spinner Jeetan Patel took 4 for 100 as New Zealand lost by an innings and 115 runs. Chris Martin, Doug Bracewell, and left-handed allrounder James Franklin were the other pace bowlers in the game.
India spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (12 for 85) and Pragyan Ojha (6 for 92) bowled well in both innings of the match, but Dhoni felt the pitch was not really one that helped slow bowling. "This wicket here [in Bangalore] does not seem like a turning track," Dhoni said. "Even the one at Hyderabad was not made for spinners, but of course the spinners got a lot of wickets. The sub-continent's specialty is spin and I think we should stick to it. I personally feel if we can get a bit more spin and a bit more bounce for the spinners it will be really good."
Dhoni said the team won't experiment with its batting lineup and will stick to playing two pace bowlers and two spinners. "We won't play three spinners but much depends on how the wicket looks before the match," he said. "It depends on how much sun we get today. I'm not certain of what combination we play with unless we have a look at the wicket."
The Indian captain also said Sachin Tendulkar was enjoying batting with youngsters after the recent retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. "He has always been under pressure and, whatever the combination may be and wherever he may be playing, if he scores 45-50 runs people still think he has not scored runs," Dhoni said.
But while Dhoni is expecting the pitch to help seamers, New Zealand captain Ross Taylor is unsure. "I think it's still too early to gauge the pitch, though it's quite hard," Taylor said. "The wicket in Hyderabad felt quite hard as well but it was just the first two centimeters underneath which it felt soft. There has been a lot of rain in Bangalore, so we'll have to wait and see how much sun it gets this afternoon and what the weather is tomorrow."
Taylor hoped his team's batting would finally click after two batting failures at Hyderabad in which the team could only manage 159 and 164 in reply to India's first innings of 438. "In a Test match, we go session by session," Taylor said. "In the last three or four tests, we've seen that it takes only one bad session to ruin a Test. So we don't want to look too far ahead. And obviously, we're still in the series. We've not won many Tests in India and we need to be brave and courageous in the way we go in this Test."
New Zealand faces a second successive 2-0 series loss after having lost both Tests on a recent tour of the West Indies.