Laxman to play first Test at home venue

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 17:23 [IST]
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Laxman to play first Test at home venue

When Indian middle order batsman VVS Laxman takes guard at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad for the second Test against New Zealand which begins on Nov 12th, it will be his first international appearance at his home ground.

In fact, Test cricket will be making its first appearance at the venue in 22 years on Friday as local boy Laxman, a veteran of 115 Test matches, provides the star attraction.

The three-match series is levelled at 0-0 after the opener, in Ahmedabad last week, ended in a draw. However, the tourists had India against the ropes thanks to a fiery spell of bowling from ace pacemen Chris Martin, who took 5 wickets in the host's second innings. Luckily, for India, a gritty 91 from Laxman and a maiden ton from Harbhajan Singh helped India crawl back in and save the match. Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is expecting a better performance from his men in the second outing.

"We hope Hyderabad to be a better track," he said. "We are confident of a more convincing performance here."

With showers forecast over the course of the first two days, India may look at including an extra bowler - either leg-spinner Amit Mishra or speedster Ishant Sharma - at the cost of Suresh Raina, who batted at six in the first Test and fared poorly in both innings.

The Kiwis must make at least one change to their line-up at the Rajiv Ghandi Stadium as seamer Hamish Bennett has returned home with a groin injury. They are also waiting to see if Jesse Ryder can recover from a calf problem to take his place in the XI.

All-rounder James Franklin has joined the squad but is only a probably inclusion if Ryder is ruled out. Pace bowlers Brett Arnel, Andy McKay and Tim Southee are all vying to take Bennett's place.


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