India fast bowler Shardul Thakur heaped praise on New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor ahead of third and final ODI against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui on Tuesday. Thakur said once Taylor is set he can play like God on the leg side.
In the first ODI, Taylor had scored an unbeaten 109 runs as the New Zealand chased down a stiff target of 348 in Hamilton. He followed it up with 73 not out in Auckland as the hosts successfully defended the 274-run target and clinched their first-ever ODI series win over India in last six years.
“Ross is batting really well. He can play like God on the leg side once he is in. In the last two ODIs, there were chances of us dismissing him, but we did not grab our chances. It is important to send him back early in the innings,” said Thakur.
After blanking New Zealand 5-0 in the T20I series, India lost the first two ODIs to New Zealand to concede the series. That however, doesn’t make the final ODI on Tuesday inconsequential, said Thakur.
”Every match is important. Just because we are 0-2 down, this does not mean that the final match is not important. Every international match holds a key. We are 0-2 down. We can express ourselves and we will play with freedom,” Thakur told reporters on the eve of the third ODI.
In order to clinch a consolation win, Thakur feels it is pertinent for the Men in Blue to dismiss Ross Taylor early in the innings. Taylor, 35, has played two match-winning knocks and Indians have not been able to dismiss him even once.
The Indian fast bowler further said it was important for the visitors to get their angles right while playing on grounds which have different dimensions.
“The dimensions here are quite different. It is important to understand them when you come to New Zealand. Every ground has a shorter boundary on one side and bowling plans change according to them. It is difficult to play cricket here because of the ground dimensions,” he said.
“I think wherever you play, bowlers get the benefit of setting the field, as the bowler knows where he will bowl. The confidence develops when you keep executing your skills, my rhythm feels good right now. I am focusing on the process and not on the outcomes,” he added.
Having already sealed the three-match series, New Zealand would be aiming for a whitewash and avenge their 0-5 T20I series defeat against the Men in Blue.