India were forced to send the opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill in the opening Test match against New Zealand after Rohit Sharma was rested for the series and KL Rahul was ruled out injured. The two were off to a cautious start as the Kiwi bowlers bowled testing lines with the new ball.
While Shubman Gill survived a first LBW shout which was given out by the on-field umpire but a DRS review by the batter showed that he had edged the ball, not much later it was a close LBW shout from the spinner Ajaz Patel. While the umpire had deemed it not out, the Kiwis decided against going for the DRS review. The replays later showed that the ball would have hit the stumps and Gill would have been out.
Check out the visuals from the TV replays:
The Kiwis would be disappointed because they tasted success by dismissing Mayank Agarwal in the 8th over and had his opening partner been back in the pavilion in the first session on Day 1, the pressure would have certainly been on the hosts. However, that wasn't to be as Team India were 82/1 at Lunch on Day 1 at the Green Park, Stadium in Kanpur.
To add salt to their wounds, Shubman remained unbeaten on 52 at the lunch break with Cheteshwar Pujara also batting on 15.
Ahead of the match, many cricket experts including Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir believed that Ajinkya Rahane was lucky to be still part of the Indian dressing room. In absence of Virat Kohli, Rahane is leading the Indian side in the first Test.
"There's no Virat Kohli (for the first Test) and Rohit Sharma has also opted to take rest. Then there's Ajinkya Rahane; we are wondering if he'll be in the team or not. But he has been handed the captaincy (for the first Test)," Harbhajan said on Sportskeeda.
"The last 11 matches haven't gone too well as he averages around 19 (19.58). He is a brilliant cricketer but that hasn't been reflected in his performances lately. But it's also good to see the thinking of Rohit, Virat, and Rahul Dravid as they believe that Rahane should be in the team," he added.
"Not only that but he has been given the captaincy. So, I hope he takes the team forward and also score runs with the bat so we can see him playing for a little more. If he doesn't score runs, the queue (of players waiting to replace him) is very long. There is Suryakumar Yadav among others waiting in the queue," he highlighted.