Venue: Basin Reserve, Wellington
Date: Friday, February 21, 2020 – Tuesday, February 25, 200
The Indian tour of New Zealand is almost over for 2020 with just the two-match Test leg of the series remaining before the tourists return to the subcontinent. The tour began with a bang for India as they managed to reel off five consecutive wins in the five T20I matches that were played between the two countries. While this sounds – and was – an impressive feat, it is important to note that two of these matches could have easily gone either way as India picked up the win in the Super over in games three and four.
The ODI portion of the tour could not have gone any more different to the T20Is. New Zealand picked up wins in each of the three ODIs, showing fluency with the bat and dominating with their bowling attack when each was required. What will please the New Zealand selectors the most is that a different player top-scored in each match, with Ross Taylor, Martin Guptil, and Henry Nicholls all contributing with high totals when they were required to push the Black Caps over the edge.
This sets things up beautifully for a two-Test series in which the winner can legitimately claim bragging rights for the whole tour.
New Zealand are looking to rebound in the Test match format of the game from their horror show in Australia over the Christmas period that saw them drubbed in each game in a 3-0 series defeat. It will be down to the unflappable Kane Williams to pick his team back up and give them the belief that they can compete with – and beat – this India side.
The biggest team news for New Zealand is that Trent Boult is back in the frame for the Black Caps after recovering from the hand injury that forced him to miss the white ball contests. Boult has had an on/off summer through injuries and he will be looking to make his presence known here.
India come into this series as the No. 1 ranked Test match nation in the world and they are also top of the World Test Championship points table. There are some choices to be made in their XI as Ishant Sharma has been flown out to join the squad after recovering from an ankle injury. He was not expected to play any part in the tour, but he is unlikely to have been added to the squad to do anything other than come into the side and he might make is tour debut in Wellington.
The other big decision in the Indian side will be at wicket-keeper where Wriddhiman Saha is likely yo keep his place for now despite being pushed hard for the place by Rishabh Pant.
India will really feel like they have a point to prove here after their dusting in the ODIs. This is the top Test match side in the world for a reason and it is hard to look past just how badly New Zealand played in Australia. Even though they are a much better side at home, we like India to take the first Test win here at 1.20 with BetXChange.