Pacers licking their lips looking at this surface - McMillan

  • Sports, Published on: Thursday 17th November 16 - 8:36pm

A washed out first day in Christchurch is unlikely to prompt wholesale changes in strategy, because there is still "plenty of time left in the game", New Zealand batting coach Craig McMillan said. Not even the toss was possible on Thursday, which means neither team has yet named their XI.

Play is now set to begin half an hour early, for the following four days, as long as weather permits. A minimum of 98 overs is scheduled for each of these days, when usually, only 90 are expected to be bowled.

"There's not a lot of overs lost even though we lost the whole day today," McMillan said. "We haven't named our XI, and there are probably discussions on that tonight, but I don't think too much has changed."

Though a day of rain may make an already green Hagley Oval surface even more conducive to seam movement, McMillan hoped the recent proliferation of greentops in New Zealand will have equipped his batsmen with the means to cope.

"I think it's fair to say looking at that surface that the toss will be important," he said. "I think with the pitch being under cover today with the rain about, that first session tomorrow (Friday) is certainly going to be challenging. Hopefully, though, there's enough movement for a couple of days, so that the team that wins the toss doesn't have so big an advantage. I think there's going to be enough for both teams in the first innings.

"These are conditions that we've been in quite a lot over the last few years. We've batted first on a number of pitches that looked very similar to the one out there, and we've done it well. It's nothing new to us but we still know that we have to get things right against a very good Pakistan attack."

McMillan had been charged with helping New Zealand's batsmen - who were battered in India - regain some confidence ahead of the long home season. He said the top order had prepared specifically for the Pakistan attack, with special attention given to combating the left-arm angle that Mohammad Amir, and perhaps Rahat Ali, will provide.

"I want to see the batsmen commit to their own personal game plan," McMillan said. "We've done some good work over the last two days in the nets. Both sets of fast bowlers are licking their lips and are pretty excited I think by what's on offer. I think they have to commit to the style and game plan that they want to follow through with and they have to make good decisions. They have to be nice and precise the way they go about it. If they do that, there's a reasonable chance they can come out with some success."