Ten months can be a long time in international sport. In November 2011, Doug Bracewell played his first Test for New Zealand and took six wickets, including a five-wicket innings haul, against Zimbabwe. A month after that, playing just his third Test, Bracewell bowled New Zealand to a thrilling win against Australia, in Australia, with 6 for 40 in the fourth innings. But now, Bracewell is part of a New Zealand team that has no answers when asked where their next win is coming from after an innings and 115-run drubbing in the first Test against India, their third Test defeat in a row.
"It's tough being 1-0 down in a two-match series," admitted Bracewell ahead of the second Test in Bangalore that starts on August 31. "We've got to forget about that game and take out whatever positives we can. We'll look to go all out this game and try and get it 1-1."
Bracewell didn't have a particularly good outing in the first Test, taking a solitary wicket and leaking 88 runs in 19.1 overs, and isn't even certain of retaining his place in New Zealand's starting XI in Bangalore. "I just try to work on my game and go about my stuff," said Bracewell, when asked if he was under pressure to retain his place. "If one of the other seamers takes my place I'm sure they'll do a good job. They've been working hard in the nets and looking pretty good, so if that happens, that happens. I'm sure the side the side that the team management choose will be the right decision on the day."
New Zealand's main problems stemmed from their inability to handle the Indian spinners with any conviction, and Bracewell acknowledged that part of the problem was "a lack of spinners back home". "Obviously we don't face as much spin back home as we do in the sub-continent," said Bracewell.
New Zealand are faced with a tall ask to square the series, but they do have one thing going for them - the weather in Bangalore. The teams were greeted with overcast skies for much of their practice sessions on Wednesday, and Bracewell was hopeful the weather would help the New Zealand seamers and neutralise some of India's spin strength.
"I looked at the wicket and there's a bit of grass over there at the moment. But I'd say they'd definitely shave it off," said Bracewell. "I think the overcast weather is also helping us and if it stays like this, it might work into our favour a little bit."
New Zealand can also look for an enhanced local knowledge input for this Test, with Daniel Vettori joining the team in Bangalore. Vettori, who led Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, is not part of the Test squad, but Bracewell welcomed his presence. "To talk to him and hear his thoughts is a good thing for us. I'm sure the guys are happy to have him back in the set-up and it'll be good for the team," said Bracewell.
How much Vettori's presence and the conditions help, and whether these factors are enough for New Zealand to pull level in the series, however, remains to be seen.