Laxman feeling right at home
Test cricket back in Hyderabad after more than two decades
Last Updated: 11/11/10 9:54am
Laxman: Hyderabad's favourite cricketing son
VVS Laxman will make a long-awaited appearance on his home ground when India take on New Zealand in the second Test in Hyderabad.
"We have played some one-dayers and IPL matches here and found the pitch to be on the flat side with some bounce, which enables batsmen to score freely."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni Quotes of the week
Test cricket returns to the city for the first time in 22 years on Friday with local boy Laxman - a veteran of 115 appearances in the five-day format - providing the star attraction.
The three-match series remains level after the opener, in Ahmedabad last week, ended in a draw.
But it was the Chris Martin-inspired tourists who had the better of the stalemate and only Harbhajan Singh's maiden century rescued India.
Home skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is expecting the pitch to be good for batting.
"We have played some one-dayers and IPL matches here and found the pitch to be on the flat side with some bounce, which enables batsmen to score freely," he said.
With showers expected over the course of the first two days, India may consider playing an extra bowler - either seamer Ishant Sharma or leg-spinner Amit Mishra - at the expense of Suresh Raina, who made three and nought batting at six in the first Test.
"I would like the luxury of playing five bowlers, but then you have to consider what your best side is," added Dhoni.
"We like to rely on part-time bowlers to supplement the four regular bowlers."
The Black Caps must make at least one change to their line-up at the Rajiv Ghandi Stadium as seamer Hamish Bennett, a debutant in Ahmedabad, has returned home with a groin injury.
They are also waiting to see if Jesse Ryder can overcome a calf problem to take his place in the XI.
All-rounder James Franklin has joined the squad but is only likely to feature if Ryder is ruled out.
Seamers Brett Arnel, Andy McKay and Tim Southee are all in contention to take Bennett's place.
"We need to back up our performance in the first match with another one here," said New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.
"We are trying to win a game but I have to concede that taking 20 wickets is never easy in India.
"The wicket is reasonably flat but with probably a touch more pace than at Ahmedabad."
India (from): MS Dhoni (capt, wkt), V Sehwag, G Gambhir, M Vijay, R Dravid, S Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, S Raina, C Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, P Ojha, A Mishra, Zaheer Khan, I Sharma, S Sreesanth
New Zealand (from): D Vettori (captain), B Arnel, J Franklin, M Guptill, G Hopkins (wkt), C Martin, B McCullum, T McIntosh, A McKay, J Patel, J Ryder, T Southee, R Taylor, BJ Watling, K Williamson