IND v NZ 2nd Test, Preview: India eye the No. 1 Test spot at Kolkata

IND v NZ 2nd Test, Preview: India eye the No. 1 Test spot at Kolkata

Team India
India. (Photo Source: BCCI)

First look at the Eden Gardens wicket and one can see a cover of grass, but there are also the cracks under it; most of it is green but there is also the dryness around. Team India won’t be bothered much at the same time given the appearance of the pitch would want to play an additional bowler and go back to their 5-bowler plan. Which further suggests Rohit Sharma or Cheteshwar Pujara will have to sit out.

For New Zealand they have more questions to answer; their batsmen proved incapable to counter the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Yes, there was a brief phase of resistance but that is never going to be enough in Indian conditions. They need someone from the top order to play a big knock, to anchor the innings around whom the likes of Taylors, Ronchis and Santners can score. But the biggest concern for the Black Caps at the moment will be the availability of skipper Kane Williamson who is reportedly recovering from a bug.

India:

The Indian team added Gautam Gambhir to the 15-man squad but looks unlikely that he will find himself in the starting XI. Batting coach Sanjay Bangar and head coach Anil Kumble had a special session arranged for Shikhar Dhawan at Kanpur just after the conclusion of the Test on the 5th day. He batted for extended hours in the nets which further goes on to suggest that Dhawan will open for India tomorrow. Gambhir, on the other hand, spent very little time in the nets and will just be there around as a backup.

In the bowling front, a few suggested that Ravi Ashwin who had a corn on the middle finger of his bowling arm might opt out of the game and that was the reason off-spinner Jayant Yadav was brought in as a replacement for Ishant Sharma. But both Kumble and Kohli at different press meets said that all the 15 players were available for selection. The pondering that they need to do is whether to pursue with the 6-4 attack or bring in the fifth bowler. If they want to add another bowler it would certainly be a spinner. And in that case, Jayant will have an edge over Amit Mishra given the fact that New Zealand have plenty of left-handers in the lineup.

Also Watch: Gautam Gambhir and skipper Virat Kohli bond over practice session
New Zealand:

It is not the case of lack of talent or skill for the Black Caps while they tackle spin but that of application. Most of their batsmen didn’t apply themselves in the first Test and that’s why we saw them getting out without making much of an impact. The pitch didn’t turn square neither did the spinners bowl unplayable deliveries which was quite the case in the series against South Africa. Here both Jadeja and Ashwin earned the wickets that they scalped.

If Williamson sits out, it would be a huge blow to their chances. He didn’t take part in the practice sessions on the eve of the Test but Tom Latham said the skipper had no issues and was just resting be ready for the game tomorrow. The Kiwi pacers did their part in the Kanpur Test but it was the spinners who leaked the pressure. The tweakers will have to complement each other, hurt together and ensure a hunt. The Indian batsmen will come hard at them, they are the superior players of spin bowling but with assistance from the wicket and conditions, a more channelized effort would certainly see them drive success.

Playing XI:

India-

Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav

New Zealand-

Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C)/Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Mitchell Santner, Luke Ronchi, BJ Watling (wk), Jeetan Patel, Neil Wagner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult

Pitch:

The surface was rebuilt ahead of the season and from what it appears will be a good one to bat on early and the cracks will start to burst out as the game progresses. Definitely a win the toss bat first kind of wicket. A good first innings total will prove the difference.

Match details:

September 30 – October 4, 2016
Start time: 09:30 local (0400 GMT)
Telecast: Star Sports
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

StatAttack:

1. New Zealand has played just two Test matches against India at Eden Gardens.

2. The last match they played against each other at this venue was in March 1965.

3. Ajinkya Rahane requires 80 runs to complete 2000 Test runs.

4. Ravi Ashwin requires 6 wickets to surpass teammate Ishant Sharma as the leading wicket-taker among active players for India in Tests. Sharma has 209 wickets and Ashwin has 206.

5. Tom Latham requires 386 runs to complete 2000 Test runs.

6. Kane Williamson requires one more century to become the second highest centurion for New Zealand in Tests with 15 centuries. Martin Crowe tops the list with 17 centuries, while Ross Taylor also has 15 Test tons to his name.

7. Williamson requires 3 innings to complete 100 innings. He will become the fourth batsman to do so after Stephen Fleming, Brendon McCullum, and Daniel Vettori.

8. Neil Wagner requires another 4 wickets to complete 100 wickets in Tests.

Also check out – Ravichandran Ashwin’s record while starting with the new ball