I have always had the hunger to score more runs - David Warner

AP Updated: 15 January, 2020, 10:13 AM IST


Captain Aaron Finch and David Warner hit centuries as Australia hammered India by 10 wickets in the first one-day international on Tuesday.

Warner was 128 not out and Finch 110 not out as Australia scored 258 without loss in 37.4 overs in reply to India’s 255 all out.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc took 3-56 in only his second ODI on Indian soil as the host's middle-order collapsed after a 121-run second-wicket partnership between Lokesh Rahul (47) and Shikhar Dhawan (74).

It was the fifth 10-wicket defeat for India in ODI cricket, and only the second at home.

The last time India lost an ODI by 10 wickets was in 20005 against South Africa in Kolkata.

Australia’s first 10-wicket victory against India was fueled by the third-highest partnership in ODIs between Warner and Finch for their team. They ensured Australia won with a massive 13.2 overs to spare.

“I have always had the hunger to score more runs and put the team off to a good start," Warner said. “It was a great effort from our bowlers in the afternoon. To put India down to just 255 at home was incredible and to then close down the game as we did was brilliant.”

He and Finch started the chase in belligerent fashion, putting on 84 runs in the first powerplay.

Warner reached his half-century off 40 balls, passing 5,000 ODI runs, while Finch reached there off 52 deliveries.

Both survived confident appeals against different bowlers, with Warner reviewing in the 29th over.

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News Cricket

WT20: Poonam Yadav’s heroics secure memorable victory for India over Australia

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 February, 2020, 4:57 PM IST


Poonam Yadav came and she conquered. At a stage when Australia were cruising towards victory, Poonam Yadav came as a beautiful respite for Team India. She took two wickets in one over and dealt hefty blows to host Australia to reduce them from 67 for 3 to 76 for 5. Not only that, she picked the three most important Australian wickets of Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry.

Riding on this bowling performance, India went on to secure a memorable victory by 17 runs against the hosts and defending T20 World Champions Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Earlier in the day, put to bat first, India had a good start from Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma. But soon after the 41 run partnership, India lost three quick wickets, including the experienced duo of captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. At 47 for 3, Jemimah Rodriguez and Deepti Sharma steadied the Indian ship, stitching a partnership of 53 runs. Deepti made 49 not out to get India to a respectable total of 133 runs.

In the bowling department, along with Poonam, Shikha Pandey also made vital contributions by picking up three wickets and choking out the runs in the death overs. Poonam was rightfully awarded the ‘Woman of the Match’ trophy.

News Cricket

You can never feel set on a tricky pitch of Basin Reserve - Mayank Agarwal

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 4:10 PM IST


Indian opener Mayank Agarwal has revealed the reason behind his side’s top-order collapse during the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington. Agarwal said that it was quite difficult to perform on a tricky pitch of Basin Reserve as the players have to make extra efforts to play big shots. The 29-year-old right-hander also claimed that a batsman can never feel set in such difficult conditions.

“I think it is quite tricky since the wind blows at more than a decent speed here. And you just have to make adjustments right there on the field. As a batsman, it’s not easy, especially the first day, on this track. As a batsman, you never felt that you were completely in because even after lunch, it was doing a little bit.”

Speaking about Jamieson’s performance in the game, Agarwal said that the Kiwi pacer bowled exceedingly well as he hit the right areas and smartly used the new ball.

“I thought he (Jamieson) bowled exceedingly well. He hit good areas and he got a good bounce. The way he used the new ball was fantastic and he kept testing our bowling in the right areas.

Agarwal scored 34 runs off 84 balls against the Kiwis before losing his wicket to star pacer Trent Boult in the 35th over.

News Cricket

Smith and Kane are 100 times better than overrated Kohli: Fans blast skipper for his ordinary batting

Staff Writer Updated: 21 February, 2020, 3:09 PM IST


Fast bowler Kyle Jamieson made an impressive start to his Test career taking 3-38 Friday as New Zealand left India 122-5 on the rain-shortened first day of the first cricket test.

Ajinkya Rahane was 38 not out and Rishabh Pant 10 when stumps were drawn.

Jamieson was called up for Neil Wagner, New Zealand's most successful seamer of recent seasons, whose wife is expecting their first child.

New Zealand feared a hole in its bowling attack in Wagner's absence but Jamieson, who also made his international white-ball debut this season, stepped easily into the gap and ensured New Zealand took advantage of an influential toss.

His first wicket in tests was Cheteshwar Pujara (11) and his third, not long before rain shortened the day to two sessions, was Hanuma Vihari (7). The one he will remember longest was India captain Virat Kohli (2) who was out before lunch and whose dismissal swung the balance of the match in New Zealand's favor.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson didn't hesitate to bowl on winning the toss; the team winning the toss has bowled first 26 times in the last 30 tests at the Basin Reserve.

When the covers were drawn away from the pitch after some light morning rain it was green, moist and seemed to offer every advantage to the bowling team.

The pitch at first was a little slow and holding, hardened through the day and made the bounce sharper.

There was only a little seam and not much swing despite the low cloud that hung over the ground through the first two sessions and brought the rain during the tea break.

For Jamieson those conditions were ideal. His height — he stands 2.03 meters (6'8') — allowed him to use the bounce as the pitch hardened but he made most use of fuller deliveries which just nipped away. All of his wickets were catches behind the stumps.

He bowled full to Pujara, angling the ball into middle and off and forcing the batsman to play. When Pujara pushed tentatively forward, the ball just deviated, took the outside edge and carried to wicketkeeper B.J. Watling.

The delivery that accounted for Kohli was wider but still full. Kohli lunged well forward, the ball straightened just a little and took an edge, carrying to Ross Taylor at first slip.

The dismissal marked a collaboration between a player in his first test and another playing his 100th. Taylor on Friday became the fourth New Zealander after Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum to play 100 tests and the first to play 100 matches in all three formats.

Vihari also fell to a full ball which demanded a shot and which moved enough to give Watling another catch.

Jamieson also had a hand in the dismissal of Mayank Agarwal after the opening had endured all of the first session. Trent Boult tried a shorter ball and Agarwal, playing off his hip, got a top edge that flew to Jamieson at fine leg.

Tim Southee claimed the first wicket of the day, bowling Prithvi Shaw for 16 when India was 16-0.

The rain came after tea, shortening the day though New Zealand had done enough to advance the match. A strong wind made conditions difficult for batsmen and bowlers.

Virat Kohli’s ordinary batting was enough to invite the wrath of fans, who blasted the Indian skipper for the way he lost his wicket to New Zealand quick.

News Cricket

He was a revelation today - Manjrekar praises Rahane for his innings in Wellington Test

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 2:41 PM IST


Former cricketer-turned-commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar heaped praise on the Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane after his impressive innings during the first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The 54-year-old has said that Rahane was a revelation during the game against Kiwis. The right-hander scored unbeaten 38 runs alongside young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant on Friday.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, Manjrekar wrote, “Ajinkya Rahane was a revelation today. Dead defensive bat not pushing at the ball. Complete clarity of mind, focused only on defence.”

India saw a quick fall of wickets on the first day of the Test opener as the top three batsmen, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara lost their wicket to New Zealand bowlers in early hours. Virat Kohli was dismissed by the debutant pacer Kyle Jamieson with just two runs in his kitty. However, Rahane steadied the ship and went to play a brilliant inning to save the day for his side. With his impactful performance, Rahane drove his side to 122 runs for five wickets before the tea break.

Notably, thunderstorms followed by rain in the third session forced early stumps on Friday as only 55 overs were bowled.

Feature Cricket

IPL 2020: 5 CSK batsmen to watch out for

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 1:07 PM IST


Three-time title lifters Chennai Super Kings will be eyeing their fourth IPL trophy in the upcoming season of the cash-rich league. MS Dhoni-led side has been one of the most successful franchises in the IPL and will look to extend their dominance. Notably, the batsmen have played a crucial role in CSK’s success over the last few years. While Shane Watson stunned everyone by his batting heroics in 2019, MS Dhoni has always remained a star for his side. Let’s take a look at five batsmen who can win matches for CSK.

Shane Watson

Fearless, powerful, unstoppable are the right words to describe Shane Watson. The Australian all-rounder has always been an integral part of the CSK squad. His numbers for the franchise in the past two years are enough to suggest that he is one of the key players to watch out for in the upcoming edition of the cash-rich league. If we take Watson’s batting performance into account, he stole the show for CSK in the grand finale against Mumbai Indians last year. However, MS Dhoni-led side lost the title by just one run but Watson’s 59-ball 80 runs with a bloodied knee won the hearts of IPL fans across the world. The 38-year-old right-hander has scored 3575 runs in 134 IPL matches at a strike rate of 139.53 and an average of 31.08 so far.

Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis has remained a consistent performer for Chennai Super Kings ever since he joined the Dhoni-led team. Despite missing quite a few matches due to injuries and national commitments in the last couple of years, the star batsman has done exceedingly well in the limited chances he has got in the yellow jersey. The South African star accumulated 396 runs in 12 games in the 12th edition of IPL. Overall, in 71 IPL matches, du Plessis has scored 1853 runs at a strike rate of 126.74 and an average of 31.40. With his impressive batting records, he can open for CSK in the upcoming edition of IPL.

Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina, the ‘Chinna Thala’ of the CSK squad, can perform under pressure. He is a vital cog in the batting wheel of the ‘Men in Yellow’. The left-handed batsman has amassed 5368 runs in 193 games in IPL. With such impressive batting records, Raina can make a difference for CSK in the next edition. The experienced batsman still has a lot to offer.

MS Dhoni

A lot has been said and written about MS Dhoni's future in international cricket but now its time for the biggest cricket carnival in India and everyone knows ‘Thala’ can never let his team down when it comes to IPL. The CSK skipper has always showcased his Masterclass in the 20-over competition. He is one of the most successful captains of the cash-rich league who led his team to three IPL titles. Not only this, he even guided his team to the nail-biting finale against Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians last year. The legendary wicketkeeper-batsman scored 416 runs from 15 matches in the 12th edition of the league. His strike rate of 137.85 and an average of 42.20 are enough to show his caliber in the IPL. In the next edition of the cash-rich league, all eyes will be on MS Dhoni as this could be his last chance to make an international comeback.

Dwayne Bravo

Dwayne Bravo has a lot of experience in the franchise cricket and has done well for Chennai Super Kings in the past. Bravo's IPL numbers are quite impressive as he has scalped 147 wickets in 134 matches at an economy rate of 8.39. As far as his batting is concerned, the all-rounder has scored 1483 runs from 134 IPL games at a strike rate of 128.28. His path-breaking performances with both bat and ball in the shortest format of the game, make him a perfect T20 package for any captain.

News Cricket

Ravi Shastri gets emotional, recalls Test debut at Wellington 39 years ago

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 1:06 PM IST


Ravi Shastri, the head coach of Team India, went down the memory lane during his latest interview session with talented batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. On the eve of India’s first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, Shastri revealed that exactly 39 years ago on February 21 in 1981 he made his Test debut for India at the same venue. Shastri said that he would have never believed that he would visit Basin Reserve yet again and that too against the same opposition.

Speaking to Pujara about his Test debut, Shastri said, "I would have never believed I would come to the same ground, the same venue, playing against the same opposition. I went into the same dressing room, nothing has changed. I made my debut here 39 years ago. I wouldn't have believed it to the day, 21st of February, I would be back after 39 years.”

The 57-year-old legendary all-rounder also took to his official Twitter handle and wrote, “It was 39 years. They say what goes around comes around. Tomorrow, Same day same ground same team same city I made my Test match debut 39 years ago. Unreal.”

Feature Cricket

Virat Kohli spot on: Periodic breaks best way to deal with rigorous schedule

Partab Ramchand Updated: 21 February, 2020, 1:04 PM IST


Virat Kohli was right in mincing no words on Wednesday while admitting that fatigue and workload management are issues that need to be addressed. ``Periodic breaks are the best way to deal with a rigorous schedule’’ said the Indian captain in hitting the nail firmly on the head.

There just seems to be no limit to the workload of an international cricketer these days. The schedule has been getting heavier and heavier in recent years and the players need a break to recharge their batteries and come back afresh. Kohli himself admitted that such periodic breaks have worked well for him. He gave his own career as an example saying that over the last eight or nine years he has been playing 300 days a year which includes traveling and practice sessions. Kohli actually made his international debut in 2008 in ODIs played his first T-20 international in 2010 and his first Test the following year and over the years with three formats, any number of bilateral contests, ICC tournaments, the IPL and so on he is quite right in saying that since the intensity is right up there all the time it does take a toll on the player.

That is why the cricketer needs the periodic breaks and as Kohli said it is not something that the players are not thinking about. ``We do choose to take a lot more breaks individually even though the schedule might not allow you too. You are going to see a lot of that in the future from many players, particularly those who play all three formats.’’

Kohli was again spot on while assessing his own career saying that he is preparing himself for a ``rigorous three years’’ of playing all three formats but after that, he might reassess his workload amid a transition phase that could be setting in. At 31 Kohli feels his body could take some extra workload but after three years he might have to decide on playing two of the three formats. Here it might not be out of place to point out that MS Dhoni retired from Tests at the age of 33 to concentrate on the two remaining formats.

Kohli has obviously set his sights on the larger picture when he says that ``for the next two or three years I have no issues at all.’’ He understands that his presence and peak performance is crucial till the 2023 World Cup after which the next phase of transition is likely to set in. ``I can keep going on with the same intensity and also understand that the team would want my contribution before we ease into another transition that we faced five to six years ago’’ obviously referring to the retirements of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

Feature Cricket

David Warner Behavior Blamed on Workload

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 21 February, 2020, 1:02 PM IST


It is an interesting proposition the cricketers union and David Warner have put out in defense of his behavior that led to the sandpaper-gate in South Africa last time around. While Warner has also chimed in to suggest that playing round the clock took its toll, how does it make this year since his return from the ban any different?

Upon landing in South Africa, David Warner has fished out the excuse that the last time Australia had come to South Africa – which was two years ago, he was an overworked, jetlagged person who could not come to terms with the workload.

Workload has become an increasingly critical issue, something India’s captain, Virat Kohli, chronically touches upon and has recently spoken about with regard to his own career longevity.

Warner, like Kohli, features for his team across all formats and additionally plays in the Indian Premier League. To that extent, the idea that players need to ask and enforce rest time is becoming more and more the norm. But they then run the risk of possibly losing their slot to the next incumbent awaiting his turn. While Warner, Kohli and the likes are not in imminent danger of such a scenario, it takes one unsavory incident and Warner had one too many on that previous tour of South Africa.

Warner, in more ways than one, has been Australia’s poster boy for both, phenomenal batting and atrocious behavior in cricket. His run-in with Quinton de Kock before playing a pivotal role in the ball-tampering fiasco were not his only misdeeds. A talent bludgeoner of the ball, Warner has roasted his own reputation as he has of bowlers around the world. To that extent, Warner is the boon and bane of Australian cricket and Australia have had to take cognizance of that fact when perhaps designing the one year ban so as to make Steve Smith and Warner available in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England last year.

To that end, Cricket Australia’s plans worked brilliantly as Warner was virtually unstoppable in the World Cup and thereafter, despite the hiccup of a dismal Ashes series in England, followed it with belligerent centuries in the home series against Pakistan and England. Warner has been part of the action ever since his return, bringing into question that if workload alone was the reason why there were some serious lapses in judgment and subsequently, behavior, how is this different given that Australia have been on a roll?

The greater truth of the matter lies somewhere between workload and results. When Australia have been doing well as they have since just before the World Cup by winning the one day international series in India, they have been a happy dressing room, easier to accommodate giant-sized egos and bad boys. When things have not been working well and they did not for Australia two years ago which made them resort to underhand tactics, they have found dearth even in leadership – Smith was the captain with the troubled brain fade moments and Warner with his perennial bad boy problems. Managing expectations, as well as workload, maybe more to the point in Warner’s and Australia’s case.

News Cricket

‘Ke ghungroo toot gaye’: Shreyas Iyer trolls Virat Kohli on Instagram

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 February, 2020, 1:01 PM IST


India middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer trolled Virat Kohli in a hilarious way on Instagram. BCCI posted a photo of Virat Kohli, just before the toss in the first encounter of the Test series between New Zealand and India in Wellington.

BCCI went on to caption the picture as, "Let's put on our thinking caps and caption this? The best one will feature right here. Go.Go.Go #NZvIND". In the photo, Virat Kohli can be seen wearing the India blazer and standing in a 'dancing position' ahead of the toss in Wellington. Shreyas Iyer won over the Instagram by his hilarious caption- ‘Ke ghungroo toot gaye’, A famous line, mostly found in the Hindi songs, depicting marvelous footwork of the dancers.

As far as the Test match is concerned, New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson made a dream debut by dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. New Zealand capitalized on winning the toss and bowling on a green Basin Reserve pitch, by picking five wickets.

As rain played spoilsport, India were lingering at 122-5 at the end of the first day’s play. Rishabh Pant and Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane were at the crease.

News Cricket

Ross Taylor presented with 100 wine bottles to mark his 100th Test appearance

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 12:55 PM IST


Superstar Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor created history on the first day of the Test series opener against India at Basin Reserve in Wellington. The 35-year-old right-hander came out to play his 100th Test on Friday and also became the first cricketer in the world to play 100 matches across formats.

During the five-match T20I series against India at home, Taylor played his 100th T20I last month. As far as ODIs are concerned, Taylor has played 231 games so far, scoring 8570 runs for New Zealand.

In order to make this moment memorable for the veteran player, the New Zealand cricket fraternity came forward to present 100 wine bottles to Taylor.

While expressing his thoughts on the special gesture, Taylor said, “Really excited about the occasion. It’s not a great sign when you wake up in the morning and there’s some rain around. Ian Smith said a few words at an event last night, and it was very nice for the team and the family to experience something they might never do again. I’ll need some help drinking (the hundred bottles of wine), but they can be stored for a while.”

News Cricket

Dhawan relives childhood memories with son Zoravar, dances with characters of Chhota Bheem

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 February, 2020, 12:52 PM IST


Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and his son Zoravar were recently seen playing and dancing around with people wearing costumes on famous cartoon series Chhota Bheem. The Delhi opener recently posted a video where he can be seen having a gala time with his son.

View this post on Instagram

Never let go of the child in you. Fun times ✌�

A post shared by Shikhar Dhawan (@shikhardofficial) on

The cartoon characters Bheem, Raju and Chutki from the famous show ‘Chhota Bheem’ had a blast with a famous Indian player. “Never let go of the child in you. Fun times,” wrote Dhawan.

Dhawan is currently recovering from his injury sustained during the third and final ODI in the India- Australia series. While trying to stop the ball, Dhawan dived full length and injured his shoulder.

Shikhar Dhawan is gearing up to play for the Delhi Capitals in the upcoming edition of the IPL. The franchise from Delhi is hoping to see him in good shape ahead of the new season. In the meantime, he is spending quality time with his family.

News Cricket

Darren Sammy to become a Pakistani citizen

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 February, 2020, 11:43 AM IST


The jovial and always friendly, Darren Sammy has applied for Pakistani citizenship. The Peshawar Zalmi player has been a vocal supporter of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The owner of the Peshawar franchise confirmed the news.

“We have requested for the honorary citizenship of Pakistan for Daren Sammy. The application is currently at President’s table. I request the PCB chairman to put in a good word for Sammy, so it can be approved,” said Javed Afridi as quoted by cricketpakistan.com.pk.

The Peshawar Zalmi captain was conferred with the iconic ‘Kaptaan Chappal’ from Pakistan’s famous cobbler Nooruddin. “I want the PSL-5 to be the best out of all of them. As players and as fans let’s show the world how great it is to play cricket here,” Darren Sammy had said after this.

Echoing the pain of Pakistani players of not playing at home, Darren said that he is very happy that PSL has rightfully returned to its home.

“Back in 2017 when the final was in Lahore it was a step to bring cricket back here. I have been playing cricket away and at home. I see how the people at home love to see their stars and you know Pakistani players have missed that,” said Peshawar Zalmi skipper.

In 2017, Darren Sammy led his side Peshawar Zalmi to title glory in Lahore.

News Cricket

Harsha blasts team management for dropping world’s best wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 10:51 AM IST


Famous commentator Harsha Bhogle came down hard on the Indian team management for dropping experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha from the playing XI against New Zealand on Friday. India gave preference to the young player Rishabh Pant over Saha during the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The selection didn’t go well with Harsha and he immediately took to his official Twitter account to slam the management.

Bhogle wrote, “Just up and see Saha is left out. We have just told every young keeper in India not to bother becoming the best in the world behind the stumps and instead focus on getting a few more runs in front of them. Disappointed.”

Bhogle also made it clear that he is not against Rishabh Pant but he feels for Saha.

“Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about Pant. Just think in tests you pick your best five batsmen, best four bowlers, best keeper and think about a secondary skill for number six, if at all. I hope he does well because he is a gifted young player but feel for Saha.”

News Cricket

Won’t mind sharing India’s No. 1 Test spot with New Zealand - Virat Kohli

Garima Kotroo Updated: 20 February, 2020, 2:38 PM IST


Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his troops recently visited the Indian High Commission in Wellington ahead of their first Test against Kiwis at the Basin Reserve. During his visit, Kohli expressed his gratitude for the High Commission and even showered praise on New Zealand cricket.

“If we have to share our No.1 Test rank with anyone, it would be with New Zealand. We have had a tremendous time here, the hospitality has been amazing. We feel very welcomed here. We lost the ODI series, but now we have real cricket to look forward to that is Test cricket."

Kohli also went on to say that India have reached that stage of world cricket where every team wants to beat them.

“Something that we as a team has embraced a lot over the last three to four years, we have reached a stage where every team wants to beat us.”

Talking about the mutual admiration and respect between India and New Zealand, Kohli added, “New Zealand won’t be any different, but the difference would be there won’t be any spite. That’s one reason why I can sit with Kane on the boundary line and have a conversation mid-game about life and not cricket.”

Feature Cricket

High quality keenly contested Test series on the cards

Partab Ramchand Updated: 20 February, 2020, 2:36 PM IST


India are the No 1 ranked Test side while New Zealand are perched on the fourth position. The home advantage, however, can narrow the gap so that’s why one can expect a keen duel for supremacy in the two-Test series starting at Wellington on Friday. But there is one telling stat that no one can ignore. Out of their first seven Tests in New Zealand India won four. Of the next 16, the visitors have won just one. And as is well known New Zealand are difficult to beat at home.

So does this make New Zealand favorites for the contest? They certainly have a formidable squad and are at full strength after Trent Boult’s recovery following the injury he sustained during the Boxing Day Test against Australia. Their chief strength will be the pace trio of Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner though Matt Henry has been called up as cover for Wagner who is awaiting the birth of his child. The selectors have also rewarded Kyle Jamieson. The tall paceman was impressive in the ODIs against India though he is unlikely to play at Wellington with Ajaz Patel being picked as the lone specialist spinner.

New Zealand’s other strength is their batting. Led by the outstanding duo of skipper Kane Williamson and the vastly experienced Ross Taylor who incidentally will be playing his 100th Test the Kiwis bat deep down the order with the likes of Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling and Henry Nichols round to lend a helping hand.

However if New Zealand have a formidable squad so does India who will be keen on building upon their run of seven successive victories. Their strength too is their pace attack and the middle order batting. The pace attack is the best in Indian cricket history and even though there is quite a choice before the team management the trio of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami should get the nod. The middle-order batting (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari if he plays) is one that could cause even the strong New Zealand attack to have sleepless nights. And Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw have the class and skill to blunt the new ball at the top of the order.

So it does look like it could well be a high quality keenly contested series between two equally strong teams though one must always keep in mind the all-important stat stated earlier.