After suffering a clean sweep in the recently concluded three-match T20I series against India, New Zealand will face the hosts in the longest format. The two-match Test series is scheduled to be commencing on November 25 at Green Park, Kanpur. The Indian team looks a bit young as they will be missing stalwarts like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Rohit Sharma. However, they still do have quite a few match-winners who can rise to the occasion in the absence of big stars.
Team India is expected to go with a new opening batting duo in the absence of KL Rahul. On the other hand, the New Zealand side looks like a complete team with all its players in the position. They will be led by their usual skipper Kane Williamson and also will be having the experience of Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, and Tim Southee. Kyle Jamieson will return to the side as well.
These two sides are the top two teams on the ICC Men’s Test rankings (New Zealand at #1 and India at #2). They last met in this format in the Finals of the World Test Championship at Southampton, where New Zealand won the game by 8 wickets to lift the first-ever WTC Trophy. After the T20 World Cup Final heartbreak, a 3-0 T20I series defeat against India was the salt on Kiwis’ wounds. They will now bank on their favorite format to rebuild their glory.
India may have had plans of moving Shubman Gill to the middle order but with KL Rahul getting injured, Gill will now open with Mayank Agarwal. Shreyas Iyer – who is confirmed to make his debut – will slot in at No. 4/5. Ajinkya Rahane said he expects the pitch to take some spin while ducking questions about the bowling combination. If the surface assists spinners like it did the last time India played at the venue, expect them to go for a spin troika with the addition of Axar Patel, and pick just two quicks.
Probable XI: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddihman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj/Umesh Yadav
In Devon Conway’s absence, Will Young will be repeated to open while Tom Blundell slots into the middle-order. The bowling combination is going to present a headache for the visitors too. The conditions are expected to point them in the direction of the idea suggesting to include Mitchell Santner as the spin allrounder. India’s recent susceptibility against spin could also tip the scales in that direction. This means one of Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Kyle Jamieson will have to sit out.
Probable XI: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson/Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville
Fantasy XI Suggestion 1:
Wriddhiman Saha, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Daryl Mitchell, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin (VC), Kyle Jamieson, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj
Fantasy XI Suggestion 2:
Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor (VC), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja (C), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Mohammed Siraj