New Zealand has an Eden Park problem and it will have to fix it soon.
New Zealand boasts winning records at Bay Oval, Seddon Park, and Sky Stadium, the other home venues where it plays Twenty20 regularly, making its struggles at Eden Park all the more conspicuous.
It will get a chance to notch a seventh win there – and a second since 2014 – on Sunday, where another loss will leave them needing to win three straight to take the series.
Whenever teams come to Eden Park, there is always plenty of discussion about its small, odd-shaped boundaries and how they force teams to adjust – a challenge the Black Caps should be better prepared for than its opponents.
As Ross Taylor sees it, the key is in keeping its opponents guessing. “I think you’ve just got to not be predictable, with both bat and ball. I’m not sure what our extra count was, but sometimes when you come here you can be too predictable, either too full or too short. Obviously, we know the straight boundaries are very short, but then you can become predictable bowling back of a length, and while the square boundaries are slightly bigger, on a good wicket you can clear them with ease,” he explained.
“Eden Park definitely adds a new dimension and what we have learnt in the past if we have had two games in a row is that it does slow up a little bit, so we’ll have to wait and see and adapt. Is there going to be any due? Who knows. It’s a pretty tight series in terms of timing so we’ll just have to pick ourselves up and come along and hopefully we learn pretty quickly,” Taylor added.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was the best of the Black Caps bowlers as they tried to defend their total of 203-5, conceding 12 in his first over but just 24 off the other three, while picking up the wickets of KL Rahul and Shivam Dube – though he did drop a catch off Virat Kohli.
India got after fellow spinner Mitchell Santner, who conceded 50 off his four overs, while Tim Southee (0-48 off 4) and Blair Tickner (1-34 off 3) also received some treatment, though Hamish Bennett (0-36 off 4) was tidy on debut.