- Venue: Basin Reserve, Wellington
- Date: 21st February – 25th February 2020
- Time: 4:00 AM IST
- League: India’s tour of New Zealand
New Zealand Preview
After losing the T20I series to the Men in Blue, the Blackcaps bounced back in the ODI series, winning it 3-0. While Trent Boult was missing from the squads for both T20I and ODI series, he along with Ajaz Patel have made it back to the Test squad. Patel had impressed everyone with his bowling skills in UAE against Pakistan in his debut Test series.
Kyle Jamieson did well in the domestic cricket leagues and in the recent ODI series as well. While he’s made it to the Test squad, it’d be interesting to see if he gets to make his Test debut for NZ. On the batting front, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor will be the most impactful players in the middle.
Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls will have to step up and justify their roles in the side. While Jeet Raval will miss out on this Test series, Tom Latham will need to deliver at the top. In addition to Trent Boult and Tim Southee, Neil Wagner will be the player to watch out for.
India struggled with their top-order during the ODI series in the absence of Dhawan and Sharma. While Rohit isn’t fit yet, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal may continue to open for India in the Tests. Agarwal has done well in Tests at home while Shaw failed in the practice match at Hamilton.
In such an uncertain scenario, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane will be the crucial trio in the middle-order. These three need to stay at the crease longer and build partnerships for India. While Hanuma Vihari has delivered with the bat in times of need, R Ashwin and Jadeja are also handy in the lower order.
In times where India is likely to miss their regular opening batsmen, Ishant Sharma’s return to the side is great news. Jasprit Bumrah struggled to find wickets in the ODI series. As a result, he will be keen on finding wickets in the 1st Test. While Navdeep Saini and Shubman Gill have made it to the squad, their selection in the playing XI will be tough.
India to win the match
The team batting second has won 11 of the 19 matches played in New Zealand since 2016. The average 1st innings score in NZ during this time was 276 while 2nd innings average score was 417 runs. As a result, the team winning the toss and electing to bowl first will have a huge advantage here at Wellington.
India has never won a Test match batting second under Kohli’s captaincy while winning 13 of 16 matches batting first. It all comes down to the toss and whether Kohli opts to bowl first if he wins the toss.
Fantasy Team Tips
- While Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha haven’t played any big innings whenever they’ve got the chance, they’re the least popular among fantasy teams. BJ Watling, on the other hand, is selected by 75% of the players as wicket-keeper of the fantasy team.
- Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are the top choices for NZ batsmen while Kohli and Pujara are among the most popular choices in the fantasy teams.
- Trent Boult and Ishant Sharma will lead the bowling attack for their respective teams. The choice for 3rd bowler could be between Kyle Jamieson and Mohammad Shami.
- Also, to draft these bowlers into the side along with the top batsmen choices, Mayank Agarwal (8.5 Credits) needs to be selected.
Fantasy Team Prediction
- Wicket-Keeper – BJ Watling
- Batsmen – Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, M Agarwal, V Kohli, C Pujara
- All-rounders – Colin de Grandhomme, Ravindra Jadeja
- Bowlers – Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Ishant Sharma
- Captain – Kane Williamson
- Vice-Captain – C Pujara