Teammates losing their way after he and Martin Guptill had produced the first century opening partnership in the three-Test series against India, Tom Latham was hopeful of a better show from the New Zealand batsmen in the second innings of the final Test here.
“It’s (pitch at Holkar Stadium) obviously deteriorating and turning more. We weren’t at our best on Monday, lost wickets that we weren’t happy with. Hopefully we can rectify that in second innings,” said Latham who made 53 out of the New Zealand first innings tally of 299 and also stitched a stand of 118 with Guptill who top scored with 72.
New Zealand are staring down the barrel after conceding a big first innings deficit of 258 to India who made a mammoth 557 for 5 declared and then did not enforce the follow on, making 18 without loss in the second innings by stumps on day three of the five-day game.
“It’s certainly starting to turn, lot of footmarks. Not cracking up so much but there are dust and footmarks for bowlers to work with. They’ll be targeting those in the second innings so got to find a way of rectifying that,” he said.
He blamed the cluster of wickets that New Zealand lost in the post lunch session as the main cause for the team’s predicament in the final game of the series which India have already secured.
“Me and Gup (Guptill) built a partnership chasing such a big total. Unfortunately, we lost wickets in clumps,” he said. “It was not our day through middle of innings, hard to start on that wicket. Unfortunately, our guys couldn’t get in. But (we have) massive chance to do so in second innings.”
Latham hailed the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin, who grabbed 6 for 81 that included a spell of 3 wickets in 13 balls, and Jadeja, who picked up two wickets.
“They are world class especially in their own conditions, bowled lot of overs, and took wickets. We’ve got a big couple of days and when we get chance with bat, we’ve got to put those partnerships together,” he noted.
“We got to stick to game plan on surface and stay true to what we believe works. If you have the right technique and mental state you can score runs out there,” he added.
He skirted the query whether Indian opener Murali Vijay, who got a warning from the umpires in the second innings for running on the pitch, did it deliberately after Ravindra Jadeja was fined for a similar offence and the team docked five penalty runs in the first.
“It’s out of our hands as players, we’ve got nothing to do with it, it’s up to the umpires they make the call,” he said.