Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane decides to bat first against New Zealand in the first test

Thursday, 25 November 2021 - 9:43

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On a clear morning in Kanpur, India captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and chose to bat in the first Test against New Zealand.

Rahane's expectation was for the pitch to play "slow and low", and both teams picked three spinners, hinting that they expected plenty of turn at some stage too.

One of New Zealand's three spinners was a debutant, Rachin Ravindra, who bats left-handed and bowls left-arm orthodox. He pipped Mitchell Santner, suggesting New Zealand wanted a batting allrounder rather than a bowling allrounder to support frontline spinners Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville. The two seam-bowling slots, meanwhile, went to Kyle Jamison and Tim Southee, with the left-armer Neil Wagner left out.

Despite the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, India went in with just five specialist batters including the debutant Shreyas Iyer. Wriddhiman Saha returned as keeper for the first time since the Adelaide Test of December 2020, while Axar Patel joined R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the spin attack. India went with the experience of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in the pace department, leaving out Mohammed Siraj.

India: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Ajinkya Rahane (capt), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Axar Patel, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Ishant Sharma.

New Zealand: 1 Tom Latham, 2 Will Young, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Rachin Ravindra, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Will Somerville, 11 Ajaz Patel.