Blackcaps vs India: Ross Taylor happy to be 'home' for Napier one-dayer

Blackcaps batting master Ross Taylor is under no illusions over the obstacle facing his side in a series where even the 'home' crowd may be a hostile one.

Fresh from a dominant performance across the Tasman, India open their account against New Zealand with a one-day return to Napier's McLean Park on Wednesday.

Taylor is thrilled to return to the Central Districts venue, which lost its international status over the past two summers, due to substandard facilities.

But that absence just means no-one is quite sure what to expect from ground conditions and a crowd where Indian fans may well outnumber Blackcaps supporters.

"Any time India come here, they're a powerhouse," he reflected. "The NZ-Indian community come out and support them, and quite often, there are just as many Indians in the crowd as Kiwis.

"In some situations, there are more. It's great to play in front of a packed house and many of those supporters back New Zealand, when India aren't in the country."

McLean Park lost its international status, after a one-dayer between New Zealand and Australia was abandonned in February 2017, and another against South Africa was transferred to Hamilton.

Since then, the local city council has invested in upgrading the venue, particularly its turf, drainage and irrigation systems.

"They've had a few dramas, but it looks like the ground and the venue is in good nick," observed Taylor.

He suggested the batsmen would be licking their lips in anticipation of runs, but perhaps the bowlers weren't as enthusiastic about their prospects.

"I haven't been here for a while," he said. "I watched the game on TV the other night, which I think was the second time they'd played on it.

"They said it would be a little bit harder than it was the other day, but it's always a nice ground to come and play at, and you still have to sum up conditions.

"Sometimes, teams go a bit too hard early, still trying to find out what is a par total and not getting too far ahead of yourself. You still have to earn the right to  score over 300, but there are times when you can score under 300 and win games."

On Saturday, Central Stags scored 225 runs in the Super Smash T20 fixture, but had to withstand a strong 207 from Canterbury Kings, batting second.

Blackcaps one-day wicketkeeper Tom Latham tuned up for the Indian series with 110 runs off 60 balls for Canterbury, suggesting the new wicket was a batter's paradise.

That may play into India's hands, with the world's top two ODI batsmen - Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma - leading the charge.

"They're obviously the number-two team in the world," said Taylor, who is ranked third behind Kohli and Sharma in ICC standings.

"We had a good hit-out against Sri Lanka, but we're under no illusions that this side is very good and a step up on what we've faced over the last little while.

"Through the middle, we were able to keep wickets in hand against Sri Lanka and go big, but there's going to be a difference in talent and quality of spin they've got to choose from.

"It will be interesting to see what balance they go in with, whether it's two specialist spinners or whether they put [all-rounder] Jadeja in there as well."


Join us at 3pm Wednesday for live updates of the Blackcaps vs India ODI in Napier.