Second Test between India and New Zealand begins today
The belated monsoon revival may have offered some succour to farmers but for the cricket die-hards in Bangalore, prayers will be all about beseeching the sun to appear in all its glory over the weekend.
The second Test between India and New Zealand, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here from Friday, may be a remarkable contrast to the glitz and noise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) but for the game’s romantics, the five-day version remains the lodestone. And the ticket counters will surely gain a buzz if M.S. Dhoni wins the toss and opts to bat first.
No State player
Bangaloreans though will miss the local angle as after more than two decades, an Indian Test team will step onto the turf here without a single player from Karnataka in its ranks.
Anil Kumble will watch the game from his KSCA presidential suite while Rahul Dravid — his runs etched for posterity on the wall made of 10,000 bricks near the main gate — will be sorely missed in the middle order.
In an oblique way, the game’s followers will try and bond with their borrowed mannina magas: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli and the team’s former player Ross Taylor, who will lead New Zealand. It will be interesting to observe the way the galleries react to Taylor, who was a favourite with the masses before Chris Gayle stormed in with his massive sixes. “It is good to be back,” Taylor exclaimed though the visiting skipper’s worry-bag is bulging after his team succumbed meekly at Hyderabad.
A peek at history indicates that India remains an overwhelming favourite against New Zealand in Tests at Bangalore.
The teams clashed here twice — 1988 and 1995 — and in both instances, India won comfortably. Sachin Tendulkar is the lone survivor from either team since that last showdown while compatriots and rivals such as Sanjay Manjrekar and Danny Morrison have moved over to the commentary box.
The pitch is expected to ally with spin and if the cumulus clouds stay away, India may well fancy its chances of wrapping up the series at 2-0.
Fans can use the first floor parking facility at the Shivajinagar bus-stand, King’s Road inside Cubbon Park or UB City pay and park facility.