Hamilton: The humiliating ten-wicket defeat in the first Test in Wellington has left not just mental scars among the Indians but physical ones too with two key players still nursing injuries.
Opener Sanjay Bangar and seamer Ajit Agarkar were hit by rising deliveries on a fast and bouncy pitch in Wellington and with just two days to go for the second Test here, both are yet to recover from their injuries.
Bangar was hit on his right index finger by a lifting delivery from Shane Bond while the nail on Agarkar’s right middle finger is bruised and numb because of a similar hit at Basin Reserve.
“The blood clot in Agarkar’s finger has been drained out but he is under observation. The same is true of Sanjay,” said physio Andrew Leipus Tuesday.
Team manager N.R. Choudhary said tests will be conducted Wednesday on both to assess whether they can recover for the vital second Test. “We would have a test on Sanjay and Ajit tomorrow. It is important to know the state of their fitness because we can’t take chances,” he said.
India’s preparation has been hampered because neither Bangar nor Agarkar have been able to practise since the test ended last Saturday.
Bangar was one of the three Indian cricketers, apart from Ajay Ratra and Murali Kartik, to visit the Westpac Park right after the team’s arrival from Wellington Tuesday afternoon.
The Railways allrounder needs as much practice as possible to get used to the conditions while Agarkar too needs to get his line and length right if India are to put up an improved show in the second Test.
The Indians are certain to include medium-pacer Tinu Yohannan in the line-up. The Kerala medium-pacer impressed everyone with his pace and bounce in the last two practice sessions at Basin Reserve.
Pitch on NZC order
Having seen the Indians fare miserably on a lively track in the first Test, the NZC has made a special request to prepare a pitch full of pace and bounce at the Westpac Park.
“They rang on Sunday and told me to make something that was as fast and bouncy as possible,” said groundsman Doug Strachan. His plans have been hit hard by rain which prevented him from putting the final touches to the strip, and according to the forecast, the elements may disrupt play on the first two days.