India take on confident New Zealand in 2nd Test at Mumbai
Virat Kohli will be making a comeback to the Indian cricket team as the hosts will face New Zealand in the second and final Test match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai starting on Friday. The first match between these two teams ended in a thrilling draw at the Green Park cricket stadium in Kanpur.
India will look to clinch the series victory having missed out on taking an unassailable lead in Kanpur when New Zealand fought hard on the fifth and final day of the opening Test to force a draw. The rookie pair of Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel kept India at bay for a long time in the final minutes as bad light forced an early end to a thrilling finish in the first match.
India will be confident that their captain Kohli returns to form with the bat having scored his last Test century in November 2019. At the same time, the Indians will face an extremely difficult task of picking Shreyas Iyer ahead of the two experienced batsmen in vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who both have struggled for a very long time in Test cricket.
Iyer had become the first Indian batsman ever to have scored a century and a half-century on his Test debut, which means that it will be next to impossible for the Indians to not play a batsman who had played in the first Test match as a replacement. Iyer had replaced Kohli in the playing eleven and had batted at No 5, which is the usual position for vice captain Rahane.
Axar Patel had taken a five-wicket haul for India in Kanpur whereas Tim Southee did the same for New Zealand in the first innings. India will be confident knowing that they have two world-class spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja at their perusal. It remains to be seen if New Zealand pick three spin bowlers for this Test as well.
For New Zealand, opening pair of Tom Latham and Will Young had done an incredible job in the first innings when they added 151 runs to provide them a strong start. However, a collapse of sorts which saw New Zealand being dismissed for 296, in which they lost all 10 wickets for only 167 runs, is something that the Kiwis would want to work on.
Kyle Jamieson is an important player for New Zealand knowing that the pitch at Mumbai’s favourable towards fast bowlers. The visitors also have the likes of Henry Nicholls and Tom Blundell in the middle order who can both accelerate and provide stability in the middle and tough situations. But all eyes will also be on the experienced pair of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, both failed to make a mark with the bat in the Kanpur Test.