India's Test opening options struggle against New Zealand XI
The Indian cricket team is all set to face New Zealand in the first Test, starting February 21. However, the team is currently involved in a three-day practice match against a New Zealand XI side. And on Day 1 of the match, India managed just 263. Notably, all three opening options struggled. Here is more.
Mayank, Shaw and Gill score one run between them
One major priority for India to sort out is finding the second opener to partner Mayank Agarwal for the two-Test series. However, the trio faltered in the practice match. Shaw was out for a four-ball duck. Mayank followed suit and was dismissed for just one run. Meanwhile, Gill, who came in at number four, was out for a golden duck.
Openers' struggles a worry for Team India
In the recently-concluded ODI series, both Mayank and Shaw faltered in all the three games. And once again, the two couldn't offer resistance at the top. Gill, who is battling for a berth alongside Shaw, was also unimpressive. Their collective failures will be a worry against a dream Kiwi pace attack in the Test series. India need their openers to lay a solid platform.
Pujara brings his experience into play
The highlight for Team India was the key offering from Cheteshwar Pujara at number three. Pujara slammed a 211-ball 93. He absorbed the pressure early on with India being at 5/3. Pujara hit 11 fours and a six. He will be a pivotal force for India in the Test series in terms of handling pressure situations well. It was a typical Pujara show.
Vihari belongs to this Indian starting XI
Hanuma Vihari was superb in the Test series against West Indies away from home last year. However, with India fielding five bowling options in the Tests against South Africa and Bangladesh, Vihari was limited to the bench. But the player will have a major role to play against the Kiwis. He slammed 101 which included 10 fours and three sixes before retiring out.