India vs NZ, 1st Test: Ajinkya Rahane elects to bat
After the white-ball leg, India and New Zealand are locking horns in the first of the two-match Test series at the Green Park in Kanpur. Notably, New Zealand beat India at home (2-0) in 2020 before tasting success in the ICC World Test Championship final (2019-21 cycle). The news from the center is that Ajinkya Rahane has won the toss and elected to bat.
New Zealand (Playing XI): Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (wicket-keeper), Rachin Ravindra, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Kyle Jamieson, William Somerville. India (Playing XI): Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Green Park in Kanpur is hosting the series opener. It will begin at 9:30 AM IST. The pitch in Kanpur will favor spinners in excess as the match progress. Therefore, the batsmen will need to toil on the last two days. One can watch the game live on the Star Sports Network and stream the same on the Hotstar app (paid subscription).
India lead New Zealand 21-13 as far as the head-to-head record is concerned. The two sides have met 60 times in Test cricket (26 matches have resulted in a draw). Both sides are 3-3 since September 2016.
India have played 22 Tests at Green Park, having won seven (lost three, drawn 12). Interestingly, the Indian side last lost at this venue in 1983, against West Indies. Meanwhile, New Zealand have never managed to beat India on this ground in three attempts. They have lost twice, besides drawing one encounter. The Kiwis have won only two Tests in India (1969 and 1988).
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer will become India's 303rd men's Test cricketer. Ajinkya Rahane had confirmed that Iyer would make his Test debut in Kanpur. Iyer has scored 4,592 runs in First-class cricket at an incredible average of 52.18. He has 12 hundreds to his name. He will play in place of KL Rahul, who got ruled out with a muscle strain.