India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore August 30, 2012

India start overwhelming favourites


Match facts

Friday, August 31-Tuesday, September 4
Start time 0930 (0400 GMT)

Big Picture

It's not often than an Indian Test win fails to top the sports pages, never mind the cricket pages. India's comprehensive victory over New Zealand in Hyderabad though was relegated to a sideshow last week as Unmukt Chand's Under-19 team won the World Cup in Australia. That India's first five-day success in nine months was so overshadowed was a measure of how lightly New Zealand are treated as a Test opposition, and how heavily India are expected to win.

New Zealand's Test fortunes seemed on an upswing after upsetting Australia in Hobart, following that up with their biggest Test win ever - an innings-and-301-run thumping of Zimbabwe - and the emergence of several talented young quick bowlers but the optimism has faded over the past few months. The home series against South Africa was always going to be a difficult challenge, but the capitulation on the tour of the Caribbean and against India last week has led to despondence among New Zealand fans. Much has already been written about the frail batting, the scarcity of centuries and the doubts against spin. The Bangalore Test presents a chance to show they are better than they have shown in recent times.

India, meanwhile, couldn't have asked for a better series to gauge how to fill the void left by the retirement of middle-order stalwarts Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Cheteshwar Pujara will be relieved after marking his return to the Test arena following a one-and-a-half year absence with a big century. Virat Kohli also solidified his position with a fifty and, after a wretched Australia series, India's attack finally looked Test-quality again.

Form guide

India WLLLL (Most recent first)
New Zealand LLLDL

Watch out for

Suresh Raina has been an integral member of India's limited-overs sides for several years now, but Test cricket has proved tougher to crack. Kohli and Pujara have earned themselves middle-order spots at least for a handful of Tests, leaving Raina's place as the most vulnerable. The Test against a feeble New Zealand offers Raina the chance to make the runs necessary to keep a host of challengers at bay.

Ross Taylor has repeatedly stressed on the need for his batsmen to make centuries if New Zealand are to compete in Tests. He himself has only one hundred in more than two years, and that too against a lightweight Zimbabwe. With Jesse Ryder sidelined, Brendon McCullum promoted to the opening spot, and Daniel Vettori injured, New Zealand need Taylor to shore up the middle order.

Pitch and conditions

The Chinnaswamy track isn't expected to be as spin-friendly as the one in Hyderabad last week, and the quicker bowlers are likely to have more of a role to play. The big concern for the organisers, though, is the weather. There have been evening showers over the past few days in Bangalore, and the predictions are for rains over the weekend as well.

Team news

MS Dhoni has ruled out experimenting with the India line-up ahead of the tougher Tests against England and Australia later in the season, which means the same XI which won the first Test is likely to feature in Bangalore as well. There have been some fitness concerns over Pujara, who was struck on the knee while fielding at short leg in the first Test, but Dhoni said Pujara is expected to play. "Pujara is a bit sore, but the good thing is he batted today at the nets and fielded also," Dhoni said. "He got a hard hit which means it will take some time to heal but I don't think it is restricting him in the field."

India (likely) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Umesh Yadav.

New Zealand also aren't expected to make too many changes. Taylor said he was backing his batsmen to deliver after the dismal performance in Hyderabad. The one change they could consider is bringing in either Neil Wagner or Tim Southee for Chris Martin, who was dropped as recently as the second Test against West Indies last month.

New Zealand (likely) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Daniel Flynn, 6 James Franklin, 7 Kruger van Wyk (wk), 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Jeetan Patel, 11 Neil Wagner/Chris Martin.

Stats and trivia

  • The Chinnaswamy Stadium isn't India's happiest hunting ground, with only one Test win in close to 17 years. Against New Zealand, though, India have won both Tests at the venue.
  • After his pair in Hyderabad, Martin is now level with Glenn McGrath on 35 Test ducks, with only Courtney Walsh (43) ahead. Martin's seven Test pairs is a record.
  • Brendon McCullum is 45 short of becoming the sixth New Zealand batsman to reach 4000 Test runs


"Sachin Tendulkar may score 45 or 50, still people think he has not scored runs. He has always been under this kind of pressure. He is enjoying cricket and he wants to still improve in every practice session."
MS Dhoni

"You have to reach a stage where mentally as well as with your stroke-play in attack and defence, you can dominate them. Not the other way around by letting them dominate you."
Former New Zealand coach John Wright has some advice for the visitors' batsmen

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    Raina is the only enterprising young batsman who looks complete for test cricket in terms of talent and technique. Badrinath is not even young and he's had some chances in which he has clearly shown that he isn't international cricket material .

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    Even while your article tries to make it seem as if Suresh Raina has been the underachiever among himself, Kohli and Pujara , the fact is that Raina has played far more valuable knocks than Kohli or Pujara or both combined together ! Kohli+ Pujara have scored 2 hundreds and 4 fifties whereas Raina alone has scored 1 hundred and 6 fifties ! He was the only obstacle left for England's win at Lords . We all know that England is a far better test side than Australia now and also English conditions are way more tougher than Australian conditions . Henceforth it's a bit of a shame to point that out as a blemish in Raina's longer format abilities when even the most experienced of players who have played more than 2 test series in England before also failed. Raina is definitely far more talented than any of the other young players and he's technically very equipped as well . A fifty from Kohli and a hundred from Pujara against a feeble test team has cemented their position eh ?? Hilarious !

  • MOHAMMED on August 31, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    India will thrash NZ by an innings once again.....

  • Satish on August 31, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    Raina is a very hardworking cricketer but still, i would prefer him to concentrate on the limited over formats which comes very much naturally to him and not push him into tests and make him do something which doesn't come to him that fluently. We do have Rahane who is technically and temperamentally better than Raina for llonger format. And with Viru expressing desire to come into middle order on retirement of stalwarts, why not move him to no.5 and have Rahane opening the innings? Atleast they can test in home games.

  • Dale on August 31, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    Against a "feeble New Zealand" aye??? Words like that can come back and hurt you Siddarth Ravindran. I hope they do on this occasion, at times NZ can pull out a big game - Hobart last year is a prime example. If we can just get some runs and hold our catches. Our fielding was overshadowed by our terrible batting in the last test, but it was equally terrible, we need to hold our catches and support the bowlers working hard in trying conditions. If you can take a positive from the hiding we got in test one, it would've been for me the way the attack never gave up. So let's go "feeble New Zealand" and produce an upset --- pleasssssse, at least don't get thrashed again.

  • Beau on August 31, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    Well, all loyal NZ fans know our side reserves their best performances for when they are completely written off by everyone (see Hobart, 2011). If the batsmen can cobble together 300 per innings and Tim and Trent can get a couple each early on, it'll be game on. Come on, Kiwis!

  • Anand on August 31, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    CoorparoMaverick Bradman - sure, Sobers, Kallis - arguable considering batting - they were/are peerless allrounders. Pollock? Which one ? (not Shaun please) .

  • Abhishek on August 31, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Team INDIA will win this series

  • Mark on August 31, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    The NZ media have reported that there will be one chance with Southeee coming in, possibly for Bracewell. No Nethula. Regardless of which bowlers they switch round the message appears to be one of fail as a batsman and you'll be given plenty of chances, fail as bowler (and none of them went wicketless but thanks to the batsmen only got one chance to bowl) and you are gone. Personally I think at present you can make a strong argument for an extra bowler in preference to a batsman. If your batters can only get you 160 tops in each innings then dropping one will have minimal effect. Your only slight chance is to stack your bowling and hope they can keep you in the game.

  • adithya on August 31, 2012, 0:36 GMT

    we shud never play test matches in bangalore which doesn't assist spinners.test matches shud be played only in mumbai,kokata,delhi and chennai.

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