Agarwal, Rahane hold off New Zealand after Jamieson’s double-blow


New Zealand opt to bowl v India

On a drizzly, windy Wellington morning, New Zealand got off to a good start to the two-Test series by winning the toss and asking India to bat first. They were missing their enforcer Neil Wagner away on paternity leave, who was replaced by the tall right-arm fast bowler Kyle Jamieson. Having named their XII on the eve of the match, New Zealand made the call to go in with a more orthodox combination, which meant Ajaz Patel made it and not medium-pace allrounder Daryl Mitchell.

India were more orthodox too than their edgy experimental selves on away tours. They went in with six specialist batsmen, the more accomplished spinner, and most importantly Ishant Sharma, who made a near-miraculous return to full fitness after tearing an ankle ligament in December. Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal were the chosen openers, and Hanuma Vihari the No. 6 batsman. Rishabh pant got the nod ahead of Wriddhiman Saha for his batting prowess. R Ashwin pipped Ravindra Jadeja, presumably because he can use the breeze better.

New Zealand 1 Tom Latham, 2 Tom Blundell, 3 Kane Williamson (capt.), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Ajaz Patel, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Kyle Jamieson, 11 Trent Boult

India 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt.), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Hanuma Vihari, 7 Rishabh Pant (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

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