Grassy pitch expected for Napier Test

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Published: Monday, January 23, 2012, 13:48 [IST]
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Green top expected for Napier Test

Napier, Jan 22: New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor expects a green grassy pitch for the one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Napier on Thursday, January 26. Following their victory over Australia in the Hobart Test where four pacers played, New Zealand may opt for the same despite the pitch at Mclean Park is a batting track.

"I think there's going to be a lot more grass left on this pitch than there has been in the past," Taylor told Fairfax Media. "We saw how we played in Hobart in seaming conditions. It's not easy with the bat but it's a nice test of our mindset.

"We'll have to wait and see. Napier's weather is pretty good, but I'm sure whatever surface we get will be a little bit different, or a lot different, from the last one."

The previous Test against Pakistan in December 2009 ended in a draw at the same venue, with both scoring over 450 in the second and third innings.

New Zealand played a one-off Test during their tour of Zimbabwe in November 2011 and managed a tense victory on the final day as the hosts fell 34 short in their chase of 366.

New Zealand beat Australia in pacey track in Hobart with the help of four seamers, namely, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Chris Martin and Tim Southee.

"We're not thinking too far ahead. They [South Africa] are pretty good on any conditions really," Taylor said. Taylor felt he was not sure to try their luck on pacers against South Africa as they are good on any given condition.

Taylor worried about his own bating form ahead of the one-off Test. He managed one half-century in four innings in Australia and began the HRV Cup.

"We've got a lot of cricket coming up, but I thought that where my game is at the moment I wouldn't mind spending a bit of time on my feet," Taylor said. "It's hard to get a gauge [on my form]. Twenty20 is all about momentum - not only how you're playing, but how the team's playing. With Central Districts, we didn't play too well and I had an average campaign. There's still a long season ahead and I still feel okay."

Taylor was captain of the New Zealand XI in the three-day match against the touring Zimbabweans, starting on Saturday, to get himself Test ready.

"People say it's easy to change up from Twenty20 to Test cricket. But I disagree. It is a lot harder than you think. It's more a mindset change than technique.

"For me, personally, you get into bad habits playing Twenty20. Little things creep into your game. That's the good thing with a warm-up game and the nets with the red ball. You get a chance to iron out those flaws."


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