Richardson predicts spinners to play a major role

Published: Friday, December 13, 2002, 22:04 [IST]
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Wellington: Spinners will play a major role in the first Test between India and New Zealand on what has so far been a seamer friendly track here, Kiwi opener Mark Richardson said on Friday.

"I honestly think that the wicket will turn," Richardson said after hitting an unbeaten 83 to help New Zealand post 201-7 at stumps on the second day in reply to India's first-innings total of 161. Fast bowlers have taken 15 of the 17 wickets to have fallen in the first two days on a fast and bouncy Basin Reserve pitch. India's Harbhajan Singh was the only spinner to taste success, taking 2-22 off 13 overs. "Harbhajan is going to get some turn towards the end," said Richardson, who compiled his 13th half-century in 21 Tests to prop up the New Zealand innings. "It's good to play an off spinner of his class. Daniel Vettori will be a factor when we bowl." Richardson said that although Singh would bowl last on the fading pitch, the New Zealand batsman were still confident of chasing a large total for victory. "I think there is no reason why we can't chase a total of 300 in the fourth innings," he said. New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming did not require the left-arm spin of Vettori in the first innings as pacemen Shane Bond (3-66), Scott Styris (3-28), Daryl Tuffey (2- 25) and Jacob Oram (2-31) completely routed the Indians. Richardson said he was hopeful of converting his big score into a century on Saturday. "I'm just looking to come out and start my innings afresh," said Richardson. "There was a time when I was struggling and made an error. Luckily, I was let off," he said, referring to a dropped catch by Venkat Sai Laxman when he was on 63. "It's been a long time since I batted. I lost a little bit of fluency since the West Indies tour." This was Richardson's first Test since July when he made 95 and 71 against the West Indies.

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