After New Zealand annihilated India in one-day international series, the two sides will switch the gears to longer-format with the first Test in Auckland, starting from Thursday.
The tourists lost five-match ODI series 4-0 and subsequently lost their world No.1 status in ICC rankings.
India, who lost two-Test series 0-1 in South Africa before this tour and have not won away from home in 12 attempts, will now need at least a drawn Test series against Black Caps to retain their number two Test ranking.
|What: India vs New Zealand 1st Test||When: Feb 6-10, 2014|
|Time: 11:00 local | 22:00 GMT | 03:00 PKT)||Venue: Eden Park, Auckland|
|Live Streaming: Sky Sports 3|
India’s abject surrender to Black Caps in ODI series magnified the voids in their line-up. Dominant show at home and abysmal performance overseas has been India’s longstanding dilemma and twice in last 28 months they have suffered the humiliation of 0-4 whitewash – at the hands of England and Australia.
For years Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxmin ruled over the Test cricket. However, following their back-to-back retirements over the last couple of years, Indian Test cricket has been turning over a new chapter.
The inconsistency in the batting-line’s performance remained main concern for India in the South Africa series and the story was similar in the New Zealand ODIs. Barring Virat Kohli and his skipper MS Dhoni, the rest of other batsmen failed to show persistency.
However, in this series, bowling would be a bigger concern for MS Dhoni apprehensive. Zaheer Khan returned to spearhead the pace attack after nearly a year in South Africa series, but failed to bowl with pace which was his hallmark. Likewise Ishant Sharma has also failed to deliver the electrifying marathons in the recent times which he had demonstrated in first two years of his career.
Mohammed Shami Ahmed flopped in the one-dayers and failed to prove his authority as a strike bowler. In spinners neither Ravichandran Ashwin nor Ravindra Jadeja could really thwart the rival batsmen.
New Zealand batsmen had been magnificent throughout the ODI series. Almost all of them made worthwhile contributions to their side’s series victory.
The home side’s seamers repeatedly targeted Indian batsmen with short-pitched deliveries in ODIs and they are likely to proceed with the strategy. Seamers Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and company will be raring to knock the tourists of their strides.
In the Spotlight:
When Cheteshwar Pujara hit a match-winning hundred against New Zealand in August, 2012, he was branded as replacement of Rahul Dravid. His proficiency, flair and competency to bat under immense pressure are incontestable; however, inconsistency has been consistently haunting his game. He should look for a big knock in Auckland.
Ross Taylor is in exceptional form and will be aiming to convert the big knocks played in preceding ODI series to significant contributions in the longer format, particularly before leaving the squad to be with his pregnant wife.
Eden Park pitch contains a bit grass and it is expected to offer bounce and pace. However, its behavior would gradually change after four, five sessions.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2nd Test in Bangalore (2012): India won by 5 wickets
1st Test in Hyderabad (2012): India won by an innings and 115 runs
3rd Test in Nagpur (2010): India won by an innings and 198 runs
2nd Test in Hyderabad (2010): Match drawn
1st Test in Ahmedabad (2010): Match drawn
Brendon McCullum (Captain), Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Kane Williamson, Hamish Rutherford, Jesse Ryder, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Peter Fulton, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper).
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain&wicketkeeper), Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, , Ishwar Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav