After losing the opening Test, India will be looking to get back to winning ways when they step back into action at Christchurch on Saturday. India were completely outplayed in the series opener as they couldn't cross 200 runs in both the innings.
The onus will be on the batting department to put on competitive totals. The team management will be hoping that Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will take the responsibility and score heavily as they are the cornerstones of the Indian batting line-up.
On the bowling front, experienced campaigner Ishant Sharma led the attack by taking a five-wicket haul in the first innings in Wellington. Ravichandran Ashwin had a decent outing as he scalped 3 wickets. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah looked a bit off-colour as they just took a wicket each and also failed to trouble the Kiwis batsmen consistently.
A bright green pitch is going to welcome team India at Hagley Oval, Christchurch on Saturday. The conditions are highly expected to assist swing bowling so team managements might contemplate playing with 4 pacers in their playing XI.
On the batting front, the skipper will expect a good opening partnership from Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. Prithvi Shaw will be looking to play a substantial knock as he got out cheaply in both the innings of the first Test. The top scorer for India at Wellington, Mayank Agarwal will try to continue in a similar fashion and look to play a big innings upfront to provide a solid platform for his team.
The team's fortunes will depend heavily on Pujara and Kohli's contributions with the bat. These two have played a quintessential role in all of India's memorable overseas Test match wins in the last couple of years. Team management will stick with Hanuma Vihari at number 6 position as they are going to play on a green pitch once again.
Ishant Sharma is set to miss out due to the reoccurrence of his ankle injury. This means that there will be extra pressure on Bumrah and Shami to come good. Umesh Yadav will in all likelihood be slotted in as the third pacer.
Ashwin might be swapped with Jadeja for this match. The Kiwis middle order has multiple right-handed batsmen like Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, and Colin de Grandhomme so left-arm spinner Jadeja might be the better option. Also, his good batting form in recent times will help his case for inclusion in the playing XI.
India's Ideal XI: Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
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