Virat Kohli’s India embark on an important 13-Test season today when they take on New Zealand in the first match of the three-Test series at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium. This will be India’s 500th Test match too, a momentous occasion. Get live cricket score of India vs New Zealand here. (LIVE SCORECARD | NEWS | VIDEOS)
10:09 hrs IST: Seven runs off Santner’s first. No turn yet. India are 33/0 after 9 overs. Wagner to continue.
10:05 hrs IST: Santner comes in as the first change. He was impressive during New Zealand’s recent Test series against Zimbabwe..
10:00 hrs IST: Consecutive boundaries for Rahul. Looks in top form! India are 22/0 after 7 overs.
09:57 hrs IST: New Zealand have not lost their three series in sub-continent. All three (vs Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan) were drawn.
09:50 hrs IST: Another tidy from Boult. Just one run in the last three overs for India.
09:45 hrs IST: And just what was said few minutes back, Wagner has started his barrage of bouncers. Testing times for both openers. India are 12/0 after 4 overs.
STAT ATTACK – At home, India have won their last three Tests against New Zealand.
09:38 hrs IST: Decent first over from Wagner. Williamson has specifically placed a fielder at deep mid-wicket. Get a feeling Rahul and Vijay might have to face a barrage of bouncers now.
09:33 hrs IST: FOUR! This is brilliant from Rahul. Slightly overpitched from Boult and he drives it past the deep extra cover region. India are 8/0 after first over.
09:31 hrs IST: FOUR! First boundary of the day for India. Juicy full-toss from Boult, Rahul punches it down the ground and gets off the mark in the style.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 22, 2016
09:29 hrs IST: New Zealand players make their way out in the middle. Boult to start the proceedings for them. Rahul to face the first ball.
09:26 hrs IST: Teams are gearing up for their national anthems.
09:12 hrs IST: Here are the playing XI of both teams:
India: Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi , BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Mark Craig, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
Williamson: “Fairly dry surface. Preparation’s been good. Acclimatised to the heat in Delhi, but I supposed the wicket looks a little bit different. Exciting young team. We’ve got some world-class seamers who have shown their skills for a long period of time.”
Kohli: “Looks like a pretty good wicket for day one. The start has been good in West Indies, preparation has been really good, the intenstiy is really high. Part of the 500th Test, I couldn’t even imagine I’d be captaining it. I am grateful and honoured.”
09:02 hrs IST: Indian skipper Virat Kohli wins the toss and opts to bat first.
08:58 hrs IST: A proud moment for all Indian fans!
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 22, 2016
08:55 hrs IST: Team Update – Jimmy Neesham will miss this Test due to injury while Tim Southee has been ruled out of the series because of an ankle injury. As for India, Ishant Sharma is out owing to chikungunya.
08:54 hrs IST: A warm welcome to our live coverage of the Day 1 of the first Test between India-New Zealand.
Virat Kohli-led India can become No.1 Test team if it wins New Zealand Test series.
Kanpur has always been a happy hunting ground for India. India have won four of their last five Tests at Green Park and drawn one. Not among India’s prime Test centres, BCCI’s rotation policy got them India’s 500th Test match. India are the fourth team in the world to play 500 Tests.
By their daunting record at home, India will start as the overwhelming favourites. In the last three seasons, cricket’s big boys Australia, West Indies and South Africa have capitulated on India wickets and this young New Zealand team will certainly find the Test series challenging.
Six New Zealand players in the current squad, including skipper Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill, have the experience of playing Tests in India. The Kiwis will miss injured pacer Tim Southee, who has considerable knowledge of Indian conditions. All three are IPL regulars.
Onus will be on Williamson and Ross Taylor to share their IPL experience with others to help them familiarise with the conditions, which would be starkly different from what they experienced in their recent tour of South Africa.
But what makes New Zealand different from any other international team is the variety in their spin department (hyperlink Kumble on NZ). With a leg-spinner (Ish Sodhi), an off-spinner (Mark Craig) and a left-arm spinner (Mitchell Santner), the Kiwis have the spin arsenal to counter India on conditions that are expected to favour the slow bowlers. Sodhi and Santner left their impression during the ICC World T20 earlier this year in India.
There’s no place like home if you are looking to scramble back to the top of the world rankings and that appears to be India’s mantra as they kick off a bumper Test season. But young Test skipper Virat Kohli is aware of the fact that his batsmen haven’t played spin well.
India’s poor record as tourists have been a home truth but under Kohli, the team have won series in Sri Lanka and West Indies to briefly occupy the top Test rankings before arch-rivals Pakistan snatched it.
Kohli saw a gilt-edged opportunity to reclaim the tag in the big ‘career-defining’ home season which will also include Tests against England, Australia and Bangladesh.