NZ vs IND: Statistical preview of Wellington Test
Following the limited-overs leg, India and New Zealand are all set to lock horns in the longest format. While the Kiwis were cleaned up 0-5 in the T20I series, they bounced back by routing India 3-0 in the ODIs. The two teams will now look to gain the edge in the first Test, commencing on February 21 in Wellington.
India have played nine Test series on the New Zealand soil. The hosts have won five out of them, drawing two. India won the inaugural series 3-1 in 1967-68. Their only series win in New Zealand after that came in 2009 when the Dhoni-led Team India won 1-0. It's been nearly 11 years since India have won a Test in New Zealand.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who was earlier deemed a flat-track bully, has improved his Test form overseas lately. He has scored 859 runs in 19 away innings at 47.72 since July 2018. Notably, Shubman Gill's FC scores in New Zealand read as - 136, 204*, 83, 62. Ross Taylor is the highest run-scorer for New Zealand in home Tests against India (366 runs at 52.28).
However Ravichandran Ashwin has scalped 48 wickets across five Tests against New Zealand at a 15.91, all the matches were played at home. He is yet to play his maiden Test against Kiwis away from home. Paradoxically, Jasprit Bumrah hasn't played at single Test at home as of now. His 12 overseas Tests have fetched him 62 wickets at an astonishing average of 19.24.
India's two previous Tests at the Basin Reserve in Wellington ended in a draw. The venue is usually high scoring as the 2014 series saw centuries by Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, BJ Watling and Jimmy Neesham, while Brendon McCullum racked up a triple ton. Bowlers garner extra movement off the pitch early on, thereby making the teams play three seamers and solitary spinner.
Toss always plays a pivotal role at the Basin Reserve, considering the swing and pace. The teams have elected to field in previous five Tests at this venue. Interestingly, the teams winning the toss have won four matches out of them with one ending in a draw. Therefore, both India and New Zealand would want to deploy their seamers and make inroads early on.