Formidable Indian side takes on spirited New Zealand in the series opener at Kanpur

The upcoming Indian cricketing season is going to be a pretty long one. The hosts will play 13 Tests beginning with their encounter against New Zealand in a three-match Test series with the first game between the two sides starting on 22nd September at the Green Park in Kanpur.

It will be an interesting challenge for Indian captain Virat Kohli who has taken charge of the job in admirable fashion, with series wins in Sri Lanka and West Indies. Thereafter, an Indian side led by Kohli completely destroyed South Africa at home. The visitors led by Kane Williamson are sure to be tested on spinning tracks offered on the subcontinent. New Zealand comes into the series on the back of a disappointing tour of South Africa where they lost the series.

India is definitely in the box seat at the moment as they also did well in the Test series in the Caribbean. Cheteshwar Pujara’s recent run at the domestic level will also provide the side some confidence going into the series, having all the bases covered in terms of the final lineup for the first Test. There is also some good news in the spin department as Ravendra Jadeja impressed quite a lot in recent domestic games. On turning surfaces, he always seems to be more than a handful proposition for the opposition. Ashwin will lead the bowling lineup as he sits at the top in terms of wickets for India in the last one year. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami might be the pacers who join the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja to make up the final side.

New Zealand found it tough going in South Africa in terms of their batting and their problems further compounded when their premier pacer Tim Southee was ruled out of the series. Martin Guptill is also a guy who desperately needs runs under his belt as he is suffering from a lean run in the longer version of the game. The spin options for Kiwis include left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner who was impressive in his last outing in India in the T20 World Cup. Santner could prove to be quite potent if the hosts produce turning surfaces for the Test series. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has also performed well and could be included in the lineup for the game at Kanpur along with Mark Craig and Santner.

The pace department is in good shape with Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner and Matthew Henry all capable of producing good spells when on song.

Pitch Conditions

The curator at the ground has stated that the pitch is going to be good wicket for Test Cricket as he feels it will best for batting for first three days with spinners coming into the game on the last two days. It won’t be raging turner like the last surfaces produced against South Africa last year.

Probable Lineups

India: 1) Murali Vijay 2) KL Rahul 3) Pujara 4) Virat Kohli (capt.) 5) Ajinkya Rahane 6) Rohit Sharma 7) Wriddhiman Saha (wk) 8) Ravi Ashwin 9) Amit Mishra 10) Bhuvneshwar Kumar 11) Ravendra Jadeja
New Zealand: 1) Martin Guptill 2) Tom Latham 3) Ross Taylor 4) Kane Williamson (capt.) 5) Henry Nicholls 6) Mitchell Santner 7) BJ Watling (wk) 8) Trent Boult 9) Ish Sodhi 10) Doug Bracewell /Neil Wagner 11) Mark Craig

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