Blackcaps vs India: Coach Gary Stead backs struggling batsmen to fire

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead knows the biggest challenge for his batsmen in the remainder of their one-day international series against India is to build partnerships at the top of the order.

None of New Zealand's top six batsmen scored more than 35 runs, as the Blackcaps were dismissed for 234 in reply to India's 324/4 to suffer a 90-run loss in the second ODI in Mt Maunganui. The hosts lost the opening match by eight wickets in Napier.

The biggest partnership the Blackcaps had in their chase was 58 runs between bowlers Doug Bracewell (57) and Lockie Ferguson.

The Blackcaps now have to win the remaining three ODI matches, if they want to win the series and they can't afford to lose their top batsmen early in the innings.

"We haven't built partnerships across the whole top six or seven," Stead began.

"That was the strength of what we did so well against Sri Lanka, that's what we haven't clicked and done here yet.

"As a batting unit, that's going to be our challenge going into the next three games - to build those partnerships and that's everyone.

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead.
Blackcaps coach Gary Stead. Photo credit: Photosport

"Our guys have played enough cricket - they know that you can't rely on the lower order to win you those games. It's got to be the top order to score the majority of the runs.

"We haven't done that in the two games as yet."

Another area for concern for New Zealand is their struggles against spin bowling. In the two ODIs, spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have accounted for 12 wickets out of 20 wickets.

Stead knows the Blackcaps must improve with the bat, but highlighted their recent success against Sri Lanka as proof they can handle the turning ball.

"It's not that we can't play spin bowling, we've just taken some options that haven't been the best options at times.

"I have faith in our guys. We played the spin bowling very well against Sri Lanka and they had a lot of spinners, so it's not like we can't - we just haven't done it effectively.

"The two wrist spinners that they [India] have here are very, very effective bowlers. Our challenge is to find a way to be better."

Despite the woes against India, Stead remains confident that his squad has the ability to turn things around.

"I have faith in all of our squad that they can do a job there.

"We're still - I guess in some ways - experimenting what our very best team is. That's an on-going thing and it'll probably change with the conditions that we have as well."

Game three of the series takes place at Bay Oval in Mt Maunganui on Monday.


Join us for live updates of the third ODI between the Blackcaps and India from 3pm on Monday January 28.