After sealing the series victory with a resounding 178-run margin win in the second Test match at Kolkata, India will look to complete a clean sweep against New Zealand in the final Test at Indore.
Amid rumours that all further matches in the series would be cancelled by BCCI due to the Lodha committee interference, the match is set to go on as scheduled. The stage is set for the first Test match to be held at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, which has hosted only 4 One Day Internationals till date.
It was another clinical performance from the home team at the Eden Gardens, on a track that offered assistance to both spinners and pacers alike. With the win, India reclaimed the No.1 spot in the ICC Test Team rankings from arch-rivals Pakistan.
India were helped by some brilliant batting performances by their middle order with Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Man of the Match Wriddhiman Saha impressing with the bat. Virat Kohli also showed some signs of getting back to form with an aggressive knock in the second innings.
It was also pleasing to see the Indian pacers perform the way they did with both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami picking 6 wickets apiece in the match. While Kumar swung the new ball, Shami was getting some prodigious reverse swing with the old ball. They were ably supported by the spin twins Jadeja and Ashwin as India beat the Kiwis comprehensively.
The Kiwis would have been impressed by the way Matt Henry bowled in his comeback while the form of Tom Latham with the bat will have given them some hope for the third Test. With captain Kane Williamson all set to return to the team, the Black Caps will be hoping to put up a better fight in the third Test.
However, the performance of Ross Taylor will still be a concern for the Kiwis after innings of 30 and 4 from the stand-in captain in Kolkata.
Venue – Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore
Date – 08th October to 12th October (Saturday to Wednesday)
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 – www.starsports.com
India – WWDWD
New Zealand – LLLDW
Team India will be without pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been ruled out of the third Test due to a back strain. This comes as a big blow for the Indians as Kumar had impressed with the ball in the Kolkata Test picking a five-for in the first innings. Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur has been named as his replacement. Although Umesh Yadav, after being dropped for the second Test, is most likely to play in Kumar’s place at Indore.
Shikhar Dhawan has also been ruled out of the match due to a fractured thumb. Karun Nair has been called in as his replacement, but it is almost certain that Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir will open the batting for India along with Murali Vijay.
The 34-year old left-hander has scored 4046 runs in 56 Tests, at an average of 42.58, with 9 centuries and 21 fifties. It has been two years since the Kolkata Knight Riders captain last represented India and will be looking to continue his domestic form against the Kiwis.
The biggest news for Kiwis will be the return of captain Kane Williamson after a bug forced him to sit out of the second Test match. They will look to their captain to add some solidity to the middle-order which has been susceptible against the Indian spinners and pacers. It remains to be seen who will make way for the captain ,though, with Ross Taylor still struggling with the bat.
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham is fit and available for selection and is expected to be selected ahead of Martin Guptill, which would mean Luke Ronchi will take up the opening spot.
The pacers will retain their places most likely and so will Jeetan Patel after impressing in the first innings at Kolkata with both bat and bowl.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav.
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor / Henry Nicholls, James Neesham / Martin Guptill, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling (wk), Jeetan Patel, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner.
This will be the first ever Test match to be played at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. The stadium has state-of-the-art facilities and is one of the better cricket grounds in India. The wicket here is expected be a sporting one, with good pace and bounce on offer. With a fast outfield and short boundaries, batsmen are expected to dominate.
The four ODIs that have been played here have been high-scoring fixtures, with Sehwag’s 219 against the West Indies in 2011 coming at this venue. So it is likely that we might get to see the first century of this series here.
However, the last two first-class games that were played here have been low-scoring ties, with spinners picking a bucket-load of wickets. So the viewers can expect a good contest between the bat and the ball.
The weather also is expected play nice but there is a small chance of rain on the first and the second days. It won’t be a cause for worry though as the Holkar Stadium is one of the best stadiums in India when it comes to draining facilities with covers that can protect the entire ground and two super soppers available at hand.
- India moved to number one position in ICC Test team rankings and will make their hold stronger on the top spot with a victory here. If India manage to win or draw the Indore test, Pakistan will remain at No. 2 even if they manage to beat the West Indies 3-0 in their upcoming series in the UAE.
- Holkar Cricket Stadium is set to make its debut as a Test Match venue. With this, it will become the 21st stadium to host a Test Match in India.