After a thumping victory at the Green Park Stadium, Kanpur, in the historical 500th test match, Team India gear up to take on the Kiwis in the second Test Match at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata starting on Friday, 30th September.
Team India will look to carry on from where they left off and seal the series 2-0 here, while the Kiwis will be hoping to bounce back after a disappointing defeat. It was almost the complete performance by the Indians at Kanpur, winning the match by 197 runs with a session and a half to spare on the final day.
The top-order clicked, with KL Rahul getting the team off to a positive start in both the innings. Murali Vijay played the role of the grafter as he scored two half-centuries in the match, while Pujara showed signs of his old self, getting two fifties of his own. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and, down the order, Ravindra Jadeja also made some valuable contributions with the bat.
The only cause for concern for the Indians was captain Virat Kohli getting out cheaply in both the innings. He got out playing aggressive shots each time and will definitely have to watch out for the bouncers from Neil Wagner.
The batting line-up will try and avoid a repeat of the collapse that happened in the first innings, with the team struggling to make it past 300 after being 154 for 2 at one stage.
The bowling department can put no foot wrong at this stage. Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja hunted in packs in the first match, dismantling the Kiwi batting line-up with relative ease. They were ably supported by the fast-bowling contingent of Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami.
Shami especially was great, as he got the ball to reverse in the second innings, resulting in two dismissals. Meanwhile, the Kiwis had a bad outing with the bat because most of their team was playing in India for the first time.
There were some positives though, as Latham and Williamson showed glimpses of what they can do if they get their eyes in. Young Mitchell Santner showed a great deal of application while Luke Ronchi played an excellent counter-attacking knock of 80 in the Kiwi second innings as he looked to release some of the pressure built up by the Indian bowlers.
They will, however, be worried about the form of Ross Taylor. The senior statesman looked completely at bay on the turning track and will need to muster all his experience and get some runs for his team at Kolkata.
Trent Boult and Neil Wagner bowled their hearts out on a wicket that offered nothing for the pacers while Santner impressed with the ball, both old and new.
Ish Sodhi was targeted by the Indian batters, which never really allowed him to settle into a good rhythm. But, he must look to cut down on the number of freebies on offer if he wants to build any kind of sustained pressure on the opposition.
Venue – Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Date – 30th September to 4th October (Friday to Tuesday)
Time – 0930 IST/ 0400 GMT
Broadcast – Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1 in English / Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD 3 in Hindi
Online Stream – StarSports.com
India – WDWDW
New Zealand – LLDWW
It remains to be seen how India will go ahead with their team selection. If they decide to go on with a fifth bowling option, it would mean Rohit Sharma will have to sit this one out. But given his contribution in the first match and his history at the venue, it would be highly unlikely.
The big news though is, KL Rahul has been ruled out of the test series due to an injury he picked up at Kanpur. Gautam Gambhir has been picked as his replacement in the squad.
The Delhi captain makes a comeback to the test scene after 2 years following a string of impressive performances in the domestic circuit. But in all likelihood, it will be Shikhar Dhawan who will partner Murali Vijay at the top in Eden Gardens.
Talented 26-year old off-spinner Jayant Yadav has also been added to the squad as cover for the ill Ishant Sharma.
The Kiwis will be without Mark Craig, who has been ruled out of the test series due to a side strain. His replacement, Jeetan Patel is likely to be picked. Doug Bracewell might get a look-in in place of Ish Sodhi, if they decide to go in with an extra pacer.
Jimmy Neesham still remains unavailable for the Black Caps with his rib-injury keeping him out of the 2nd test match as well. With Guptill’s poor run of form, there is a good chance that Henry Nicholls will be drafted in the playing XI which would mean Luke Ronchi will open the innings.
More bad news for the Kiwis as Jeetan Patel’s arrival to India has been delayed with the flight that was originally supposed to bring him getting cancelled. He will arrive only after the midnight of Wednesday, leaving him less than 24 hours to get used to the conditions before the test match.
Probable Playing XI’s:
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls/Martin Guptill, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling (wk), Ish Sodhi/Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Jeetan Patel, Neil Wagner.
The pitch at the Eden Gardens will be much different from the dry cracked surface we saw at Kanpur. Although traditionally known to be on the slow side, the pitch here is expected to hold firm, with a good amount of bounce on offer.
The track is not expected to deteriorate much over the course of the game. Pacers will find some assistance on the first day, with day two and three expected to be the best for batting. There will be plenty of help for the spinners throughout as well.
The viewers can expect a good contest between the bat and the ball, although there are chances of weather playing spoilsport with some amount of rain predicted throughout the duration of the match.
1. The last test match played at the Eden Gardens was in November, 2013 against the West Indies, the penultimate Test Match of the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar’s career. India won the match by an innings and 51 runs.
2. Rohit Sharma made his Test debut in that match, and went on to score a brilliant 177. It also served as a debut match for Mohammed Shami, who happens to play for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy. He picked up 9 wickets in the match, with a five-for in the second innings.
3. Ravichandran Ashwin scored a century (124) against the West Indies here last time around and also picked up 5 wickets in that game. He will be hoping to continue his good form at Kolkata.