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When: India vs New Zealand, 1st Test, November 25-29, 9:30 AM Local Time
Where: Green Park, Kanpur
What to expect: The venue has hosted 22 Tests in all, with the first one way back in 1952. But only four of those have happened there since 2000 – and only one in the previous decade, in 2016, which was also the last Test there. That too, incidentally, was against New Zealand where the surface was low and slow – allowing Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to pick 16 of the 20 opposition wickets. Expect much of the same.
India: The hosts may have had plans of moving Shubman Gill to the middle order but that has been thwarted by a late injury to KL Rahul. Gill will now open with Mayank Agarwal, and Shreyas Iyer – who is confirmed to make his debut – will slot in at No. 4.
Rahane said he expects the pitch to take some spin while ducking questions about the bowling combination. If the surface behaves anything like it did the last time India played at the venue, expect them to go for a spin troika with the addition of Axar Patel, and pick just two quicks.
Probable XI: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddihman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj/Umesh Yadav
New Zealand: In Devon Conway’s absence, Will Young should take up the opener’s role while Tom Blundell slots into the middle-order. The bowling combination is going to present a headache for the visitors too – in deciding whether they pick two spinners and a spin allrounder with two quicks or go with their strength and field three pacers. The conditions are expected to point them in the direction of the former idea, with Mitchell Santner coming in as the spin allrounder. India’s recent susceptibility against spin could also tip the scales in that direction.
This means one of Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson – who skipped the T20I series to gear up for the Tests – will have to sit out.
Probable XI: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson/Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville
Did You Know:
– In five home Tests against New Zealand, Ashwin has picked 45 wickets at an average of 15.91, including six five-fers and three ten-fers.
– When New Zealand last won a Test match in India, only four members of their current squad were born. The oldest of the four, Ross Taylor, was only four years old then.
– The Kanpur Test will be Shreyas Iyer’s first first-class appearance since an Irani Cup fixture in February 2019.