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MENAFN - Kora - 12/02/2014
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(MENAFN - Kora) The second and final Test of the series will see MS Dhoni's men requiring a win, or else the series will be surrendered to the hosts - who avoided choking in the opening encounter in Auckland to win by 40 runs

Having set the tourists 407 for victory, New Zealand almost coughed it up before eventually cleaning up the final three wickets inside three overs to avoid giving India the third-highest successful fourth-innings chase in Test history

However, despite the elation at clinching the win, Brendon McCullum's men barely had any momentum as India looked on the verge of an historic triumph - with brave rearguards from Shikhar Dhawan (115) and Virat Kohli (67) almost steering them to victory

And the Black Caps lost more momentum and positivity when squad members Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder were suspended, for drinking until 3am the morning of day one of the first Test, which they were not officially involved in

Bracewell and Ryder were then made unavailable for the second Test for their ill discipline, paving the way for uncapped pair all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and batsman Tom Latham to join the squad

Latham is the more likely to play in Wellington as cover for Ross Taylor, who is awaiting the birth of his second child and will only take part in the match if his baby arrives before Friday

India, though, are still chasing their first Test win away from home since beating the West Indies in Kingston in June 2011

Despite having only played 13 Tests outside of India since that victory, Dhoni and his side will be keen to prove they are not just home-town heroes and take the momentum from their gallant chase in Auckland to Wellington

The last time the two nations met at the Basin Reserve, India were the dominant side but had to settle for a draw as they were two wickets short of victory

Dhoni and pacemen Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are the only players to compete in that Test and the match in Auckland, with the skipper making half-centuries in both innings to help build their commanding lead

Khan, too, was impressive in that match, snaring seven wickets including 5-65 in the first innings, and the experienced trio will be hoping to repeat their impressive performance and force a draw - which would see them maintain the series trophy between the two countries

Former coach John Wright has given India some fuel too - claiming the current side is not hungry enough to win on away soil, leaving the second Test well poised to produce some fireworks from the tourists



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