New Zealand rose from their lows of the Australian Test tour whitewash with a superlative performance in the first Test against India, and the teams now move to the Hagley Oval in Christchurch for the second and final Test of the series.
The 10-wicket winning margin is an apt reflection of how superior New Zealand were in utilising the condition in the opener.
The series is on the line, but more importantly 60 vital ICC World Test Championship points are on offer. New Zealand will hope that they can make the best use of the conditions once again, while India will look to make a comeback after being notoriously slow starters in overseas Tests.
It was a comprehensive and all-round performance from the Kiwis that sealed the win in Wellington. Bowling first certainly helped, as Tim Southee (9/110) put in a man-of-the-match performance. Kyle Jamieson impressed on his debut (four wickets, 44 runs), although his place is in a doubt with Neil Wagner set to comeback into the playing XI.
Batting wise, the Kiwis weren’t required to exert much as Kane Williamson’s runs (89) were complemented by lower-order runs. With all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme putting in a below-the-radar performance, New Zealand have all the bases covered.
Slow starters India struggled to acclimatise themselves, as the poor batting form of Virat Kohli continued (19 & 2). The usual consistent scorers Ajinkya Rahane (75 runs) and Cheteshwar Pujara (22 runs) also struggle for impact. Only Mayank Agarwal (92 runs) looked to be in the mood to graft.
Even in the bowling front, India struggled to match their opponents. Jasprit Bumrah continued to baffle with his poor returns, and Ishant Sharma was left to lead the attack.
New Zealand were clinical and efficient, as India struggled with the conditions in Hamilton. Hagley Oval is expected to go the same way, which means more trouble for the visitors. The hosts are put in a tough spot with regards to their team selection, as leaving out the impressive Jamieson will be a tough pill. Nevertheless, the Indian batters will be the one feeling the heat as the conditions and the swinging ball are set to challenge them. New Zealand will start the game with a slight advantage.
History & Statistics
- India have won only one of their last 19 Tests in New Zealand (W1, D10, L8).
- New Zealand are unbeaten at home since losing to South Africa in March 2017 (W8, D4).
- New Zealand have lost only home Test since November 2016 (W12, D5, L1).
- The team batting second has won three of the last four matches at this venue, excluding the draw and cancelled games.
Tim Southee has three man-of-the-match awards in the last three Tests played at this venue. That goes well with his man-of-the-match from the first Test.
Mayank Agarwal had moved from a novice Test opener to being the senior pro, as India look up to him in the absence of Rohit Sharma. With Prithvi Shaw an injury-doubt, Mayank could be the guy India want to step up.