Date: November 25-29, 2021
Time: 9:30 AM IST
Venue: Green Park, Kanpur
After India whitewashed the T20I series against the Kiwis, it is now time for a change in format as the two sides clash with each other in the opening contest of the 2-match Test series, which kicks off on Thursday. The series will be part of the World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle, making it a significant one for the finalists of the inaugural edition. The two sides, led by Ajinkya Rahane and Kane Williamson, will lock horns at Green Park Stadium in Kanpur in what is expected to be a thrilling few days of red-ball cricket.
The wicket in Kanpur is expected to be a spin-friendly one with batting getting more and more challenging with pitch deteriorating. Day 1 is likely to be the best day for batting and both the teams might want to win the toss and put runs on the board.
However, the key deciding factor in the contest will be how the batters of both sides fair against the spin attack of the opposition. The last Test at this venue happened way back in 2016 featuring these two teams only, with India comfortably winning the game by 197 runs.
India: The home side will have a few major absentees in form of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul etc. but they will still be a force to reckon with in their home conditions. Youngsters like Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer will be keen to make an impact, having scored loads of runs in domestic cricket over the years. However, India’s key strength will be their spin attack with the trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel expected to weave their magic in Kanpur.
New Zealand: The Kiwis are the reigning World Test Champions but things are going to be extremely different from what they were when the Blackcaps defeated India in Southampton. The return of captain Kane Williamson is certainly going to bolster the side who were hammered by India in the T20I series. Apart from him, Tom Latham is going to be another key player with the bat at top of the order. However, the lack of experience among the spinners could prove to be the weak link for New Zealand.
India: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vc), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Md. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Will Young, Neil Wagner
Considering the quality of spinners in the Indian side and their experience of playing in these conditions, India will start as hot favourites going into this contest. While New Zealand do have some talented players in their side who can make an impact, they will have a mountain to climb in front of them in Kanpur.
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