News from Christchurch is that Prithvi Shaw is fit and will be available for selection in the second Test. Shaw had missed the nets on Thursday due to a swelling on his left foot. But now that he is fit, India are unlikely to change the opening combination. Here’s how the playing XI could be…
He looked relatively comfortable in both innings at Wellington. Agarwal, however, got out to a poor shot in the first innings and couldn’t convert his fifty to a hundred in the second. In Rohit Sharma’s absence, he has the added responsibility of giving his team a good start.
He got an unplayable delivery from Tim Southee in the first innings at Wellington all right, but Shaw didn’t inspire confidence against the moving ball. Far too often he was squared up by the New Zealand pacers. Shubman Gill is waiting in the wings and given that he was part of the squad for the home Tests, Gill might feel hard done by.
At a time when his captain is going through a rare lean patch, the onus is on Pujara to stand tall. If he can blunt the Kiwi pacers, life would be easier for the batsmen to follow.
Trent Boult bounced him out at Wellington. A response is due. He is the only batsman in this team who can take the attack to the opposition. For India to level the series, the skipper needs to find form.
On both innings at Wellington, Rahane got out after getting starts. Also, a little more positive intent might help.
He got a century at Christchurch in the tour game. Vihari knows the conditions, which could work to his advantage.
Yet again, Pant is likely to trump Wriddhiman Saha because the team management feels that the batting ability of a ‘keeper should be given priority in bowling-friendly conditions away from home. The approach probably reeks of uncertainty about the whole batting line-up. Wicketkeeping in Test cricket is a specialist’s job and as the saying goes, if your top six can’t score, then it’s difficult for the seventh batsman to score as well.
Ravindra Jadeja/Ravi Ashwin
To add more meat to lower-order batting, Jadeja for Ashwin appears a likely replacement.
He didn’t have a good game at Wellington, but Shami is too good a bowler not to bounce back.
Still not at his peak after returning from the injury lay-off. And even for a bowler of Bumrah’s calibre, wickets are the key to regain confidence.
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