New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: India batsmen are ready for their toughest challenge of the ongoing World Test Championship till date as they face hosts New Zealand at Basin Reserve, Wellington in the series-opener starting Friday.
Virat Kohli's top-ranked team is certainly the favourite on paper but the Black Caps under Kane Williamson are experts on their home turfs. The last time Kiwis lost a series at home was back in March 2017 and since then went on to win five in familiar conditions.

While New Zealand would be confident after winning the ODI series 3-0, the Indian team would like to prove that they are the best when it comes to winning in adverse conditions as they did in Australia last year.

The pitch at Basin Reserve ground is expected to be challenging for both batsmen and bowlers.

Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal would like to give a strong start to the visitors against a top-class seam attack comprising Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Kyle Jamieson.

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Meanwhile, New Zealand has named their 12 and it will be a choice between seamer all-rounder Daryl Mitchell or slow left-arm orthodox Ajaz Patel.

Owing to overcast conditions, India skipper Virat Kohli would not mind winning the toss and opting to bowl first and unleash Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

While India would need tons of patience, Williamson's team would look to play the waiting game.

While New Zealand are expected to go with four frontline pacers, the Indian team management might be tempted to try out Ravichandran Ashwin over Ravindra Jadeja as the former has more variety compared to left-arm orthodox of Jadeja.


India (First 12): Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajnkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja.

New Zealand (12): Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls (wk), Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling.

The match is scheduled to begin at 4 am on February 21 (Friday).

(with PTI inputs)

Posted By: James Kuanal