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Vettori rues flat pitch

NEW Zealand captain Daniel Vettori was unhappy about the quality of the McLean Park pitch for the second test against India in Napier - it was too good for batting.

The test ended in a draw about an hour before the scheduled close of play on the fifth day with India 476 for four, a lead of 162 runs after it collapsed in its first innings for 305 and was forced to follow on.

New Zealand had been pushing for a victory to square the series after losing the first test in Hamilton by 10 wickets, but Gautam Gambhir's 642-minute vigil for 137 and Vangipurappu Laxman's 124 not out ended any chance of a result yesterday.

"I suppose on most good test wickets you get a little bit of variable bounce, a bit of inconsistency when the wicket tends to wear away and it becomes more difficult for batting," Vettori said.

"But I think on this wicket you could bat on it for another five or six days if you wanted to."

New Zealand had posted 619 for nine declared after Jesse Ryder scored 201, Ross Taylor made 151 and Brendon McCullum scored 115.

India's first innings collapse on the third day, when it lost six wickets for 59 runs, proved to be an aberration and Gambhir, Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar (64), Rahul Dravid (62) and Yuvraj Singh (54 not out) ensured they batted out two days.

"I think everyone wants to see a wicket deteriorate and the spinners come into play a little bit, and a little bit of inconsistent bounce," said Vettori.

"I suppose you want batting to become more difficult as the test match goes on. I'd probably say batting was pretty even throughout the test match."

India captain Virender Sehwag had no complaints with the pitch, ensuring it heads into the final match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington still with a 1-0 lead.

"I can say it was a good track," he said. "We have played on flatter wickets than this in India and abroad."


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