The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tinu Yohannan likely to replace Agarkar

Wellington: Indian coach John Wright has given the green signal to Tinu Yohannan and the Kerala speedster is expected to form a part of the pace attack in the second Test against New Zealand starting on Thursday in Hamilton.

“Tinu is coming on very well. He bowled well in the warm-up game also. It was a difficult decision to drop him for this game but he would have to be in the running for the next Test,” said Wright after his side went through a rigorous practice session at the Basin Reserve this morning.

Indians were out there in full strength Sunday at around the time they would have arrived on a Test morning, only the first match at this venue was already over in less than three days Saturday.

“One of the good things about this session this morning is that Tinu bowled very well,” said Wright. “If we can do the job with the ball and play to our potential in Hamilton, it gives us a chance.”

Ashish Nehra and Ajit Agarkar, the two support medium-pacers to Zaheer Khan, appeared below par in the first Test with just a wicket between them on a pitch particularly friendly to pacers.

India’s task in deciding who to drop in the second and final Test seems to have been made easy by an injury to Agarkar. The Mumbai allrounder’s right middle finger nail was smashed while batting in the Test. He was, though, present at this morning’s practice along with the rest of the team.

Yohannan is the first player ever from Kerala to represent India in Tests though he has not had a look-in since he played the second Test in Ahmedabad against England last December.

Yohannan has been an essential part of India’s touring brigade to the West Indies, England and Sri Lanka this year but largely bowled in the nets and was not tried in Tests. Sanjay Bangar, India’s one seamer who performed creditably in the Wellington Test, also had an injury scare when he was hit on his right finger by a Bond delivery during India’s second innings. Wright said it was important his side gets back into the swing as quickly as possible.

“Because it is a two-match Test series, the opportunity of winning the series is gone. They wickets are different than what we are used to and they have certainly seamed a lot more. We’ve got to get used to these conditions.”

The Indians chose to practice in the middle rather than avail the nets as they battled to sort our their deficiencies against the moving ball. Captain Sourav Ganguly had no less than two stints at the nets to sort out his batting blues. Sourav first came with the team in the morning and then was there again in the afternoon to sort out his batting.

The New Zealand team also practised at Basin Reserve but it was an optional practice and only a handful of their team turned up at the nets.

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