Date: December 3-7, 2021
Time: 9:30 AM IST (all match days)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Preview: Although the opening Test match between India and New Zealand ended in a thrilling draw at the Green Park Stadium, Kanpur, it could also be looked at upon as a psychological win for the Kiwis who had their backs against the wall on the final day of the first Test match but still managed to enforce a draw. And now for the second Test, the teams are in Mumbai and despite great resilience and fight shown by the Kiwis, one has got to believe that India look the more threatening side on paper in home conditions.
Head-to-head in Tests:
Pitch Report: From what is being learnt, the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai is likely to be a rank turner. This is because India would want to win the Test series at home and since the first Test has already ended in a draw, they would not want to take any chance and have the pitch keeper the spinners interested throughout. While it is true that India head coach Rahul Dravid appreciated a sporting wicket at Green Park but the fact remains that it worked against the home team, taking no credit away from the opposition batters.
India: Despite the likes of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul missing along with Rishabh Pant and preferred pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, the team has the quality to beat any opposition in the world especially in these conditions. It helps that Virat Kohli will be back after the break and hopefully refreshed and more committed than ever before. Whom he will replace in the second Test is another matter of concern but Ajinkya Rahane looks likely to be rested even as the India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said that he is one inning away from getting back to form.
In addition, the team may be forced to make a change with Wridhhiman Saha having some struggles with a stiff neck.
New Zealand: The Kiwis too would like to assess and then make changes. Would Mitchell Santner be a good option or whether they would want to continue with the same spin bowling composition is another question they need to answer. The batting order could well be the same unless there is some last-minute injury but the team would want more contributions from their experienced stars Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, 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
Conclusion: Since the wicket is expected to be a rank turner and there is no doubt that India boasts of a better spin bowling attack, as far as the numbers so far are concerned, India should be able to win this Test. New Zealand too will fight hard but there are lesser chances of a Kiwi win as with a series on the line, Team India would play a ruthless brand of cricket especially with Kohli back at the helm.
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