~~Pitch not to be blamed, poor batting by both sides~~

Published: Saturday, December 21, 2002, 20:45 [IST]
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Hamilton: New Zealand coach Denis Aberhart on Saturday blamed his team's batting rather than the pitch after the Kiwis were bowled out for their lowest total against India in the second and final Test. New Zealand was shot out for 94 in the first innings in reply to its rivals' 99 on the third day at the Westpac Park. Its previous lowest total against India in 42 Tests was 100 at Wellington in 1980-81. India was all out for 154 in its second innings as 22 wickets fell on a dramatic day. "The pitch was not easy to bat on, but I don't think it was that bad," said Aberhart. "I think it was poor batting by both sides. I'm personally disappointed with our team's batting. "I think we lost quite a few wickets to attacking rather than defensive shots. I don't think the pitch really got our guys out. A couple of them showed that if you really apply yourself, show a lot of patience and do the hard job, you can stay in. "It's pretty exciting to see 22 wickets fall, but ideally we'd like to see more runs scored in a Test." Aberhart said his team needed to bat positively on Sunday to score 136 more runs required to win the match and the two-match series 2-0. The hosts were 24 for no loss in their second innings chasing a victory target of 160. "If we get through the first half-hour and bat positively, then it doesn't matter what's on track tomorrow morning. If we do that, it will help us win the match," said Aberhart. "One big partnership is what is needed from here on," he said. "We are looking for a couple of guys to get in there to put pressure on them. Don't look at the target and deal with each ball at a time." Aberhart said he was pleased with his fast bowlers for bringing the team back into the match. "Our bowlers did the job for us in both the innings," he said. Fast bowlers Daryl Tuffey and Jacob Oram each bagged four wickets, while Shane Bond and Nathan Astle shared the other two in India's second innings. "Bond is not going to get four or five wickets every time he bowls," said Aberhart. "Others will be disappointed (if that were to happen). They'd also like to share wickets." Bond, who grabbed four wickets in the first innings, finished with 1-58 off 10 overs in the second.

India in familiar zone, Kiwis smell big victory

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