India set out to seek revenge for the WTC final loss in 1st Test match against New Zealand
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(Cricket news) India are set to take on New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur for the 1st of 2 Tests. The series will start New Zealand's World Test Championship defence. New Zealand won the inaugural WTC back in June by defeating India. India will be without Virat Kohli for the first Test with Ajinkya Rahane set to lead the side with Cheteshwar Pujara as his deputy.
India's possible playing XI:
Shubhman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.
Ajinkya Rahane has confirmed that Shreyas Iyer will make his debut. The rest of the team picks itself. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav's prowess in reverse swing especially in Indian conditions should give them priority over Mohammed Siraj.
New Zealand's possible playing XI:
Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Will Sommerville.
The New Zealand coach has been vocal about the idea of playing three spinners which may be exactly what they need. Kane Williamson was seen practicing his bowling in the nets. If the skipper is confident in his abilities as a 3rd spinner then he could fit in Neil Wagner as another seamer. Three seamers is never the most used method for success in India but it could work.
Pitch & Weather Report:
Kanpur is expected to be sunny around around mid 20 degrees throughout. The pitch at Greenpark is expected to have assistance for the spinners. There might be something for the fast bowlers with the new ball in the early hours but the spinners will be key. Batters could score big in the first 3 days but the pitch does start to spin a lot on day 4 and 5.
Just like every other home series, India go into this one as clear favourites. However, New Zealand are World Champions and shouldn't be taken lightly. India have rested 7 important first team players from their squad. Rahul Dravid will be hoping that his team manages to win. A draw or a loss in a home series would be the worst possible start to Dravid's tenure.