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We don't want to stuff it up now: Richardson

Faisal Shariff | October 17, 2003 20:13 IST

The Kiwis seem to be in no hurry in the second Test against India. With a total of 536 under their belt, scored during the first two days, they want to make sure those runs are worth the grind.

Everyone expected them to declare past the five hundred mark. They didn't. When ten overs were left before stumps, the declaration was anticipated. Still, it did not come.

So what could be the Kiwis' plan?

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Mark Richardson, who blunted the Indian attack callously over five sessions for his 145 off 410 balls, said New Zealand want to do the job well.

"We want to score enough runs. We have come a long way and now we don't want to stuff it up with our noses in front," he said.

Richardson feels 536 runs are not enough.

"But we have to declare at some stage. Maybe, we can dart tomorrow morning and score quickly instead of losing wickets and wasting time," he says, adding "the first half hour tomorrow will be crucial."

What are the possibilities?

If New Zealand bat quickly tomorrow morning and touch the 600-run mark before lunch they will declare, putting India under considerable pressure to score 400 to avoid the follow-on.

But if the Kiwis lose early wickets they might declare quickly in the morning session and give their bowlers enough time to bowl India out twice and win the Test.

One thing is clear: India cannot win this Test match from here. A draw will only help salvage the pride that has been dented.

The wicket, though a pale shadow of its fast, bouncy nature, is still better than the benign Ahmedabad track, the venue of the first Test.

India can now look to pile the runs and keep the Kiwis on the field for the next three days. 381 won't be such a bad personal best target for Messers Tendulkar and Dravid.

The wicket

Richardson said the wicket played better than his team had thought it would.

"There is assistance for the seam bowlers. There was a bit of life in the morning. The real test for the wicket will be late tomorrow," he added.

Though Richardson praised the Indian bowlers, it seemed more out of courtesy than awe.

"India has a class attack. You learn about discipline here. Indian bowlers never back off. They are always coming at you. I was pretty impressed.

"God just favoured us more than they favoured you guys," he said.

His maiden overseas Test century has placed New Zealand in a position from where they can actually chase their dream of creating history on this tour.

Yet, he was critical about own innings, saying he would not rate it very high from the technical point of view.

"I was nicking the ball even today. The only positive is that I now have my career-best against India and not Bangladesh," said the opener who calls himself a 'failed New Zealand youth spin bowler'.

Coach John Wright's team talk this morning didn't seem to work. He now faces the daunting prospect of losing this so-called revenge series against the Kiwis.

And one of the chief architects of that impending defeat is one who always wanted to bat like him.

Left-handed opener Richardson always considered Wright, a former left-handed opener for New Zealand, his role model.

"His style, his grit and determination were always what I wanted. He was my role model."

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