Jaipur, Dec 1(TOI): The focus will be on toss and turn when India take on New Zealand in the second One-Day International of the five-match series at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Wednesday. While the toss will be crucial, turn will hold the key in this day-nighter.
Gautam Gambhir, India's stand-in skipper in the absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, agreed that the chances of evening dew would make the toss very important. He also expects turn early on and said it would help to have an extra spinner. With R Ashwin being the only specialist spinner in the squad, it would be difficult to find another tweaker, unless Gambhir wants to try out Ravindra Jadeja in that role. But then, where would he fit in the Saurashtra player?
Ashish Nehra and S Sreesanth did not have too long spells at the nets of the Rajasthan Cricket Association's Academy on Tuesday. Even if Nehra is asked to sit out of the match, Munaf Patel and Vinay Kumar are both available to join Sreesanth in the attack. Both had lengthy sessions at the nets. Yuvraj Singh has done well as part-time spinner. Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina can chip in as and when required.
Talking about availability, New Zealand are expected to have their skipper Daniel Vettori back in the team, although doubts about Brendon McCullum's fitness still remain. Vettori declared himself available for Wednesday's game.
However, New Zealand suffered a blow when fast bowler Darry Tuffy was ruled out of the series with a bicep strain. Tuffy had taken two wickets in Guwahati, including that of Murali Vijay, thus giving New Zealand the first break. A replacement is yet to be named.
While announcing that he had recovered enough to play on Wednesday, Vettori agreed that spinners have a crucial role to play in the sub-continent. With Gambhir declaring the wicket to be on the slower side, Vettori's presence might make a big difference for the visitors.
Fielding first would be the preferred option with dew expected to come down heavily in the evening. With unseasonal rain hampering the preparation of the track, scoring may not be as easy as it would seem. Incidentally, this is the same track on which Rajasthan bowled out Hyderabad for 21 in a Ranji Trophy match earlier this month. The difference, however, is that the track then had a lot of grass.
With curator Taposh Chatterjee keen on providing a flat wicket, most of the grass has been removed. However, the bounce may not be as good as the curator had wanted; blame it on the unreasonal rain again.
India would want to consolidate on their 1-0 lead and as Gambhir said, the youngsters in the team would want to make full use of this chance. Virat Kohli has already made a statement in Guwahati and Jaipur might throw up opportunities for the others too.
Gambhir himself would want to be among runs and he had an extended session at the nets. After his regulation time at the nets, he came to face balls fed by coach Gary Kirsten. At the end of it, the coach had some words for the skipper. Even Yuvraj Singh had a long session at the nets and he would be keen to get some runs too.
The last ODI at Sawai Mansingh Stadium (in February this year) was a heart-stopper, with India beating South Africa by one run.
India: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Saurabh Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Sreesanth, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, R Vinay Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins (wk), Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Andy McKay, Kyle Mills, James Franklin, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Daryl Tuffey, Kane Williamson.