Kanpur, November 24 (Agency)
In the absence of some top players including skipper Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma, the Indian team will look to maintain their dominance at home against a formidable New Zealand in the first Test, starting here on Thursday. The Indian team will be led by Ajinkya Rahane who has been in poor form for some time now. They will also miss out on the services of injured KL Rahul and rested pacer Mohammed Shami but Rahane led the team to victory in Australia in almost such circumstances. The Indian team will try to teach a tough lesson to New Zealand by taking inspiration from the performance in Australia that dented their hopes of becoming world Test champions earlier this year.
Either of the two Mumbai batsmen Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer can get a chance to make their Test debut from this match. It has been rare to see the Indian Test team play the opening pair of Rohit and Rahul without skipper Kohli or match-winning wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant in the recent past. But it will also give newly appointed head coach Rahul Dravid a chance to try his other players ahead of the tour of South Africa. Among the batsmen, only Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal have played more than 10 Test matches.
All eyes will be on Rahane in this match. He has scored runs in the last 11 test matches at an average of 19. Failure in two matches on home soil will make it difficult for him to make it to the squad that travels to South Africa next month. Similarly, the situation is not looking favorable for the team’s senior most bowler, Ishant Sharma. He didn’t seem to be in rhythm during net practice. Umesh Yadav is certain to make a place in the playing XI.
Ravichandran Ashwin will again try to prove himself as the number one spinner in the world. Ross Taylor, Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls will also be here with preparations to face the spin duo of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Axar Patel can be the third spinner. For New Zealand, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner will take charge of the new ball while Ayaz Patel and Mitchell Santner, apart from off-spinner William Somerville, could be included in the spin department.
Mutual test statistics of both countries
Total Tests India Wins New Zealand Wins Draw Tests
60 21 13 26
New Zealand 680/8, Wellington, 2014
India 583/7, Ahmedabad, 1999
India, 81 all out, Wellington, 1976
New Zealand 94 all out, Hamilton, 2002
personal highest score
NS. McCullum (New Zealand) 302 runs, 32 fours, 4 sixes, Wellington, 2020
Vinoo Mankad (B) 231 runs, 21 fours, Chennai 1956
best bowling in innings
s. Venkataraghavan (I) 51.1-26-72-8 Delhi 1965
Richard Hadley (New Zealand) 8.3-0-23-7 Wellington 1976
Best bowling in an entire test
R. Ashwin 41.1-7-140-13, Indore 2016
Richard Hadley, 22.3-1-58-11 Wellington 1976
Most victims in an innings by a wicketkeeper
Syed Kirmani (B) 6 hunts (5 catches + 1 stump) Kystchurch, 1976
B.Waiting (New Zealand) 6 catches, Auckland 2014
– Dharamveer Duggal