The betting oddmakers have given India the edge over New Zealand ahead of the first Test in Wellington. India go in with odds of 2.15 while New Zealand have odds of 2.60. The odds of the match ending in a draw are set at 2.60.
Even though the Kiwis are playing at home and whitewashed India in the ODIs series they are still underdogs. One of the reasons for this is because India is ranked the number one ICC test team. They have also done well on overseas tours in recent times.
If you are a betting man, you might want to put your money on New Zealand; the Kiwis are very formidable opponents at home. The major factors that might work in New Zealand’s favour? Their test specialists are all fit and have been selected. India on the other hand will be without some of their key players. Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Hardik Pandya miss out with injury
Kiwi Quicks vs. Indian Quicks
There are a few cricketing pundits who believe that India currently have the best test bowling line-up. That theory will be emphatically put to the test. The Indian pacers will have to out bowl a very experienced Kiwi pace bowling trio.
The experienced Trent Boult missed out on the T20 and ODI series as he was recovering from injury. The Kiwis did not want to rush him back as they preferred to have him ready for the tests.
Boult is back and will share the new ball with Tim Southee. The two bowlers complement each other and are masters of taking advantage of the conditions. The Indian batsmen are going to have their hands full as there will be no respite once they see off Boult and Southee.
The ball will then go to the ever reliable workhorse in Neil Wagner. Moreover, the Kiwis will also call on Colin de Grandhomme who can trouble the batsmen with swing and craftiness.
This will be a true test for the Indian seamers as they will have to out bowl the likes of Boult, Southee and Wagner. If Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami and Umesh Yadav can do it for two consecutive tests, it will significantly increase India’s chances of winning another overseas test series.
The lone spinner in the Kiwi squad is A Patel who might be left out of the first test if New Zealand decide to go in with an all pace attack. If they go in with four seam bowlers, Kyle Jamieson will get the nod as the Kiwis will use him for his extra pace.
Williamson, Taylor Key For New Zealand
New Zealand do have a number of good batsmen in their squad but the two key wickets will be captain Kane Williamson and the experienced Ross Taylor. If the Kiwis are going to put pressure on India, they need big scores from these two players.
New Zealand Test Squad
Kane Williamson (capt) Trent Boult, Tom Blundell, Kyle Jamieson, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Ajaz Patel, Ross Taylor, Tim Southee, BJ Watling and Neil Wagner.