New Zealand were outstanding in the opening Test of the series at Wellington to record a 10-wicket win over India. The tourists were inserted and dismissed for 165 as Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson tore through their batting ranks, with skipper Virat Kohli dismissed for only two.
Kane Williamson won the duel with his opposite number, although he missed out on a deserved century with a fine innings of 89. The Black Caps put 348 runs on the board, handing them a lead of 183.
India could only muster 191 in their second innings, allowing the hosts to chase down the nine runs required to secure the victory. It was the first defeat inflicted on Kohli’s side in the World Test Championship, and now the tourists are in danger of losing their first series of the competition.
New Zealand are rampant and have momentum on their side for the second Test. It would be a statement of intent by Williamson’s men to deliver another victory at the Hagley Oval, and improve their excellent record on home soil, although a draw will be good enough to seal the series.
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New Zealand are almost certainly going to stick with a winning formula for the second Test. Trent Boult came through the match after missing time due to a hand injury. The left-arm seamer was at his accurate best, taking five wickets in the match, including 4-39 in the second innings. Williamson also overcame his injury problems, leading the side after suffering from a shoulder problem that ruled him out of the ODIs.
Neil Wagner missed the opener after the birth of his child, but the performance of Jamieson on his Test debut will make it difficult for the Black Caps to leave him out. Jamieson also contributed 44 vital runs in the lower order. Spinner Ajaz Patel could be the man to miss out, with the potential for the home side to deploy an all-out pace attack. Williamson could chip in with overs of spin if that were to be the case.
Southee had an excellent game with the ball, striking nine times to continue his excellent record against India. Boult seemed to be finding his top gear in the second innings therefore he could be the man to back in Christchurch. He boasts an excellent record at the Hagley Oval with 37 wickets in just six matches at an average of 21.37.
Trent Boult to be New Zealand’s top bowler – 3.00 Dafabet
India were extremely poor in Wellington and may be mulling changes for the second Test. Prithvi Shaw was underwhelming at the top of the order and could make way to give Shubman Gill an opportunity opening the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal.
Hanuma Vihari failed to fire and might be replaced by Ravindra Jadeja, with the latter moving further down the batting ranks, which would see a promotion for Risbah Pant to number six. Other than that there’s not a great deal India can alter unless Jasprit Bumrah is dropped after taking only one wicket at Wellington. He has been struggling of late and could be rested for Umesh Yadav. It would be a bold call, but Bumrah has played a lot of cricket in recent months.
Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara failed to kick into gear in the middle order. With their lack of experience in the opening spots, India cannot afford to have their top players misfiring. It’s time for them to score valuable runs on the tour to save the series for the tourists. Batting will not be easy at the Hagley Oval and the potency of the New Zealand bowling attack will require excellence from one of the superstars in the batting ranks to earn the victory.
Cheteshwar Pujara to be India’s top batsman – 4.00 Dafabet
The weather in Christchurch appears to be fine for the opening four days of the contest. The first Test was wrapped up inside four days, which bodes well as there is light rain forecast for day five. It’s cloudy on the opening day and that could play into the hands of the seamers. Therefore it could be an important toss to win to capitalise on the favourable conditions.
New Zealand were excellent in the first Test, especially with the ball. They play at such a high standard on home soil and will be relentless in their pursuit of a series victory. Wagner’s return will only boost the quality of their bowling attack.
There will be no release valve for the India batsmen in the middle, while even Kohli and Pujara were off the pace in the opener. The Black Caps have a formidable record at the Hagley Oval, winning four of the six matches played at the venue, losing only once. Expect them to continue their dominant form with another win.
New Zealand to beat India in second Test – 2.20 Betway
Tom Latham missed out in Wellington, but he has been a solid player for the Black Caps at the top of the innings. He has a good record at the Hagley Oval, averaging 43.18 with a high score of 176.
Tom Latham to be New Zealand’s top batsman – 4.75 Dafabet
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