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Mar 25, 2009

Daniel Vettori urges batsmen to deliver

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori urged his team's batsmen to raise their game and bat for long periods of time to give his side a chance to level the series.

"We need to bat for long periods of time. We need batsmen to bat at least 120-odd overs against this lot (Indians) because if we don't do that we don't give our bowlers an opportunity to rest. We know we have got a quality batting line-up, but we need to improve the longevity of our innings.

"The onus is on the top six batters to do the job. If they do the job then Brendon (McCullum) and I can complement that."

Vettori attributed the success of the Indians to the fact that the visitors executed their plans superbly.

"They played to a plan and won every key moment. Every element that we weren't good in, they were really great. They seem like a team that works pretty well with momentum, and just keep rolling with it. We need to reverse that pretty quickly," said Vettori.

Vettori also said that off-spinner Jeetan Patel was almost certain to play. "We would lean towards Jeetan playing, in place of Kyle Mills. He got five wickets last time he played here, so we are hoping for a repeat of that."

However, the 30-year old skipper was unsure of Flynn's injury. "He will have a fitness test. We want to see how he fronts up. But his hand is still swollen. He is a tough little guy and wants to play. But we will make a sensible decision revolving around that."

Vettori also didn't seem too bothered with the relocated wicket. "It comes across pretty similar to a normal Napier wicket. Aesthetically, it is not quite as pretty as it normally is, and doesn't have the consistency of grass cover. But talking to Phil (grounds man), he is pretty comfortable and thinks it will be a traditional Napier track."

He added that the hosts were wary of Harbhajan Singh, who picked up his best figures overseas in the first test.

"The key to Harbhajan's success was how consistent he was in that second innings. He didn't really get it to turn a lot but put the ball in the right spot and got a couple to bounce. Most of the guys are picking him, but it is a matter of playing him from there," he said.

"I think it is the most difficult part of playing when a guy puts the ball consistently in the right spot with variations. The guys have talked about it, particularly the left-handers. I think the right-handers played him relatively well", Vettori said.

"A lot of thought has gone into how to tackle Harbhajan. I think you can still play him by turning the strike over, I always thought the key thing against spinners is the singles as it frustrate them. Being a spinner I know pretty well. So we are trying to do that more and unsettle him," he added.

When asked if the burden of captaincy was draining he responded, "Physically I am fine. Mentally, it is always the tough thing. The workload of being a captain and an all-rounder can sometimes challenge you. While enjoying a lot of responsibility, you need that little break sometimes," Vettori, whose team trails 0-1 in the three-match series, said here.

"In a lot of ways, not being a captain in the IPL side will give me that opportunity to go back and play. Once we get ready for that T20 World Cup again, it will be pretty exciting. But I am not saying I am not excited about this (captaincy) challenge as well," added Vettori.

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