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NZ v IND 2nd Test Preview: India stick to tried and tested as Christchurch green top awaits

NZ v IND 2nd Test Preview: India stick to tried and tested as Christchurch green top awaits

Despite a 10-wicket defeat in Wellington, India are expected to stick to the personnel and the mindset that has brought them tremendous success over the last couple of years.

Venue - Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Start time - 10:30 PM GMT (Feb 28) | 11:30 AM LOCAL (Feb 29)

Head to Head record in Test series -  New Zealand: 5  India: 11  Draw: 4

Weather - Partly cloudy, 28°C, Precipitation: 0%, Humidity: 50%, Wind: 29 km/h

 Another green top awaits Kohli & Co

It was not certain whether or not New Zealand will dish out a spicy deck at the Basin Reserve for the opening test match of the series, given the quality of the Indian pace attack. However, the Kiwis would have taken confidence from the fact that their bowling line-up outbowled the Indian pacers and were able to trouble the Indian batsmen way more than their counterparts troubled the Kiwi batters.

Another green top then is likely to be on display at Christchurch for the second Test. Generally too, the venue is known for providing conditions for balanced cricket where the batsmen can score runs, special days two and three, if they apply themselves. There is something in the wicket for the bowlers to exploit as well.

Out of the six Tests played at this venue, the team batting first has won two while the one batting second has won three. Therefore, there is not as much disparity in results at this venue as it was in Wellington. The average score in the first innings here is 286 while that in the second innings is 263, which does not indicate a rapid shift in the conditions.

That said, the team winning the toss would love to bowl first and gain an advantage over the opposition through a couple of quick wickets.

The Wagner challenge for Team India

New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner, who missed the first Test due to the birth of his daughter, will be back in the playing XI. Mind games have already begun with Wagner speaking to the press about going for Kohli.

Much more than the credit he is given for, Wagner is among the top contemporary pace bowlers and his record speaks for him. Since India's last tour of New Zealand in 2013-14, he has taken 165 wickets in 35 Tests at a staggering average of 23.95. Even away from home, he has great bowling numbers in this period: South Africa (16.77) and West Indies (22.80). He bagged 17 wickets at 22.76 in Australia when New Zealand visited earlier this season.

His perfectly directed short balls at the armpit and his ability to bowl long spells without tiring will be the things that the Indian batting will have to counter.

New Zealand to go all pace

Kyle Jamieson, who came in for Wagner in Wellington, had a memorable debut, picking up 4 for 39 in the first innings and following up with a crucial 45-ball 44 from No. 9 that did not allow India to come back into the game.

For someone who was making his debut in test cricket, Jamieson showed impeccable maturity and control. He landed the ball where he wanted to and mixed his lengths beautifully. His dismissal of Kohli off a good length delivery on sixth-seventh stump was the stand out.

While he did seem a bit tired towards the second innings, the pacer did a great job all in all. On the other hand, New Zealand's only spinner Ajaz Patel bowled three overs each in both the innings and easily looked their weakest link.

With Wagner returning, New Zealand will go in with four specialist pace bowlers in Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner with Colin de Grandhomme serving as the all-rounder.

Jadeja ahead of Ashwin

When Ravichandran Ashwin was out for 4 off 11 deliveries in the second innings of the first Test, it was the 20th time he had been dismissed before getting to the 30-ball mark in 36 innings since the start of 2017. He's been at the crease longer than 50 balls only seven times since 2017.

During this period, Ravindra Jadeja averages 49.80 over 21 Tests and 31 innings, of which 11 have been not-outs. He also has a hundred and ten fifties in them, and he's been at the crease for 100 balls or more on six occasions.

While Ashwin did a decent job in Wellington, picking up three wickets and fighting the wind, he failed with the bat. If India want their spinner to contribute with the bat, they'll have to look towards Jadeja.

Here's 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


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