Cricekt: Jones the key for Kiwis

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The Independent Online
NEW ZEALAND go into Thursday's second Test at the Basin Reserve all too aware not only of the difficulty of getting back on to level terms after losing the first Test of a three-match series, but also of the considerable psychological advantage gained by Pakistan when they won in Auckland, writes Henry Blofeld from Wellington.

Without the class of Martin Crowe - there are rumours that his long-standing knee problem might prevent him ever playing again - one wonders if the batsmen will be able to cope with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis even on the blandest of surfaces.

Auckland produced a difficult pitch while Wellington should be much flatter - which ought to make life easier for the batsmen. Much will depend on Andrew Jones, who seems to be on the point of retiring and is unlikely to tour England this year. His job is all the harder now because he does not have a reliable pair of opening batsmen above him.

Pakistan have lost the leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who has returned home with a back injury and been replaced by the off-spinner Akram Reza. New Zealand have brought back Danny Morrison whose back kept him out of the First Test, and he will give the bowling greater penetration. There is still some doubt about Chris Cairns, who is nursing a knee injury.