A comprehensive 10-wicket win in the first Test gave New Zealand an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-Test series. The action now moves to Hagley Oval in Christchurch for the second and final Test starting from Saturday. With the Kiwis in such high spirits and looking to master the conditions better, India will have all the running to do.
Although the series is also on the line, a chance to win 60 ICC World Test Championship points should drive both sides. India’s batting will be under scrutiny once again, which means packing your side with Kiwi bowlers could be beneficial.
New Zealand Preview
The Kiwis rode on the superlative bowling performances of their seamers to deliver a knockout blow to India. Tim Southee and Trent Boult were brilliant on day one, while debutant Kyle Jamieson showed that he can be a tough customer to face. Doubts remain whether Jamieson will play this Test as Neil Wagner is back and available.
Selecting Southee and Boult could be beneficial for your side, as another bowling pitch is expected for this match. Among the batsmen, the usual suspects Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor have done well and should again be your prime picks.
Prithvi Shaw struggled to master the conditions and choosing him in your side could be dangerous. More so because Shubman Gill is being tipped for his debut, as Shaw is fighting time to be fit. Virat Kohli’s low scores are a concern and so is the form of Cheteshwar Pujara.
Among the Indian batsmen, only Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane inspire a bit of confidence. With the ball, Ishant Sharma’s consistency makes him an interesting pick. Jasprit Bumrah’s poor form makes him a risky pick, while Mohammed Shami presents better value.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Tim Southee picked up 9 wickets and the ‘Man of the match’ award in the first Test. Interestingly, he has three back-to-back such awards at this venue.
Colin de Grandhomme is a captain’s delight – doing his duty without any fuss. With 43 runs and 1 wicket in the first Test, he has shown enough potential to warrant another selection.
Mayank Agarwal had an excellent 2019 that culminated in being selected into the ICC World Test team of the year. Knocks of 34 & 58 showed that he is ready to be the senior opening partner.
New Zealand: 1 Tim Blundell 2 Tom Latham 3 Kane Williamson (C) 4 Ross Taylor 5 Henry Nicholls 6 BJ Watling (WK) 7 Colin de Grandhomme 8 Tim Southee 9 Kyle Jamieson 10 Trent Boult 11 Neil Wagner
India: 1 Mayank Agarwal 2 Shubman Gill 3 Cheteshwar Pujara 4 Virat Kohli (C) 5 Ajinkya Rahane 6 Hanuma Vihari 7 Ravindra Jadeja 8 Rishabh Pant (WK) 9 Mohammed Shami 10 Ishant Sharma 11 Jasprit Bumrah
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