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Have bowlers to take 20 wickets: Brendon

Virat Kohli congratulates Brendon McCullum after the latter’s double century, in Auckland, on Friday

Auckland: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said he has bowlers at his disposal to take 20 Indian wickets after the Black Caps rode the captain’s unbeaten double century to take an upperhand in the ongoing first Test, here on Friday.

McCullum’s sparkling 224 guided New Zealand to a commanding 503 in their first innings before the hosts reduced India to 130 for four at the send of the second day’s play. But McCullum said he had never imagined that the Black Caps would reach the 500-run mark after they were reduced to 30 for three in the morning session of the first day’s proceedings.

“I thought we would get 200-odd runs, because when you are 30/3 down, you are thinking about small targets and getting a competitive score. Never did I think that after 30/3 in those conditions, we would end up getting 500 runs and for this batting line-up, I think that is a fine achievement,” he said.

“We have bowlers to take 20 wickets if we give them enough runs and I think we have given them enough runs,” said McCullum, after the second day’s play was called off early due to bad light.

McCullum agreed with India opener Murali Vijay and said the new ball was creating problems for the batsmen initially. “The new ball is stopping a bit, when it is hard. We saw that with Ishant (Sharma) when the ball was changed in the morning and the pitch started to stop a little bit. Short catches in front of the wicket will become crucial as the game goes on,” said the New Zealand captain.

“So, to get two wickets in the first over was outstanding, especially (Cheteshwar) Pujara’s wicket because he can bat for weeks. It’s nice to get him pretty early. They had a nice partnership going in the end, but it means that we still have a hard ball tomorrow morning. There is a slightly earlier start and I am hoping for an overcast morning with some swing,” he added.

Vijay was at a loss to explain India’s poor batting and said more than the pitch, it is the new ball which is doing the trick, hurting batsmen of both sides.

Vijay felt the new ball is affecting batsmen in both the teams equally.

“If you see both the innings so far, the new ball did the trick for bowlers in both teams. More than the pitch or conditions, it is the new ball,” he said.