After playing a fair amount of limited-overs cricket, New Zealand and India are now raring for the longest format of the game. The two-match Test series is very important for both as it falls under the World Test Championship. After the Test series loss in England in 2018, Virat Kohli and his men have tasted victory in every Test series.
Since 2000, India has won just one Test match in New Zealand and will look to better their record in the country. In New Zealand’s last Test series – which was in Australia – they were whitewashed. And, they will be competing against the No. 1 Test team now. Under the leadership of Kane Williamson, the hosts will be having a home advantage on their side.
The hosts have momentum on their side and will be high on confidence, after clean sweeping the ODI series. Under the captaincy of Kane Williamson, New Zealand have lost just one out of five Test matches at the game venue.
The pitch of Basin Reserve is pretty good for batting with a fair amount of grass on it for the first two days. The pitch generally assists pacers as compared to spinners. It is generally hard and doesn’t provide a significant amount of turn to the spinners. No rain is expected at Basin Reserve in Wellington during the course of the Test. The weather will be cloudy for the first three days and strong winds are expected on Day 1. Here are some of the predictions for the game:
Neil Wagner’s opting out of the match will provide a chance to Kyle Jamieson to make his Test debut. After a successful tour of Australia, Tom Blundell is expected to open the batting alongside Tom Latham while the experience of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor follows them at three and four.
BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls are in decent form as well with Colin de Grandhomme will provide depth to both the batting and bowling units. The returning Trent Boult leads the attack once again, alongside Tim Southee and Jamieson, with Ajaz Patel featuring as the lone spinner.
Predicted XI: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (WK), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel.
Considering the pitch conditions in Wellington, India will go with three pacers and a spinner along with Hanuma Vihari assuming the fifth bowler duties. However, Ravindran Ashwin can be expected to play ahead of Ravindra Jadeja as the spinner, owing to his abilities in the overseas conditions. As for the vacant opening slot alongside Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw as confirmed by the skipper as well.
The trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, who have prior experience of playing Test cricket in NZ, will be vital for India. The famed pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah will also be crucial against a solid Kiwi batting unit.
Predicted XI: Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wridhhiman Saha/ Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma.
Fantasy XI Prediction
Tom Blundell, Virat Kohli (vc), Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Kyle Jamieson, R Ashwin, Colin de Grandhomme, Jasprit Bumrah (c), Mohammed Shami, Trent Boult, and Tim Southee.