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by Alastair Symondson & Cricket World Thursday 27 February 2020
The first look of the Christchurch pitch will keep both teams interested. The pitch has been covered with a magnanimous covering of grass and is expected to assist the pace bowlers, especially on the first two days of the match after which it will become a lot easier for the batsmen.
However, the batsmen too will be relieved with the fact that the surface at the Hagley Oval is not expected to offer the spongy bounce which troubled batsmen from both sides in Wellington.
As far as the team combinations go, New Zealand will bring in Neil Wagner into their playing XI. The only question for them would be to bring him in place of Kyle Jamieson, who made a cracking Test debut in the last game, or the lone spinner Ajaz Patel. With the pitch looking green, they are likely to incline in the direction of going in with an all pace attack.
For India, Ravindra Jadeja is expected to come in for Ravichandran Ashwin. While this will be more of a defensive option with the ball, Jadeja is expected to be a more dependable option with the bat and will help to provide more balance to the side.
Playing "counter attacking" cricket has been the buzz word in the build-up and pre-match press conferences. The Indian batsmen will surely look to improve upon their returns in the Wellington Test.
There has also been a lot of talk circling India's premier pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Both will be the first to concede that they were not up to the mark at the Basin Reserve and once they find the perfect length, both of them are more than capable of turning it around at the Hayley Oval.
Let's have a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
New Zealand - Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner
India - Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Who will win the toss? - India
Who will win? – India
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) – Cheteshwar Pujara (India), Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Mohammed Shami (India), Neil Wagner (New Zealand)
Most Sixes – Mayank Agarwal (India), Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand)
Player of the Match – Cheteshwar Pujara
Team Scores Batting first – India 300+, New Zealand 280+
Match Handicap IndiaLive Cricket Streaming New Zealand v India - bet365's live cricket streaming page which enables you to watch live cricket. (BeGambleAware 18+) Live Cricket Streaming from bet365 requires a funded account or for customers to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours. Geo-restrictions apply.*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features, so stay tuned.
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