Indians to hunt Kiwis in historic 500th match

By Amanpreet Singh Kanpur, Sep 21 (PTI) A formidable Indian cricket team isexpected to dominate the visiting New Zealand by revelling inhome conditions in its historic 500th Test match, which willherald the beginning of a long 13-match home season, here fromtomorrow. There is an extra bit of statistics and history attachedwith the match for it being the team’s 500th Test match sinceit started playing the game 80 years back. The team played its first ever Test when it was a Britishcolony in 1932 but over the years, has established itself as aforce in world cricket. The Indian team has always been an intimidating side onspin-friendly tracks under sultry conditions and the script isunlikely to change unless the Kiwis master the conditions. However, the threat of rains looms large on the openingTest of the three-match series with predictions of heavydownpour in the next six days. The Green Park track promises to be a true Indian Testwicket where spinners will have a major role to play andskipper Virat Kohli will have no hesitation in going in withRavichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra. Moreover, New Zealand have not had enough practice to getready for the series. The only warm-up game they playedagainst Mumbai was on a flat Feroz Shah Kotla track in Delhi,where their bowlers bled runs. Martin Guptill, one of the Kiwis’ best batsmen in recenttimes, lasted a mere 21 balls in his two innings even as LukeRonchi staked claim for the opener’s slot with a century inthe second innings of that game. It was actually Mumbai who dominated the practice matchwith three of their batsmen striking a century each in thefirst innings. Even history is heavily stacked against the visitors, whohave not won a Test on the Indian soil in their last 14attempts. The last Test New Zealand won here was way back in1998. In the 15-man squad, young captain Kane Williamson alongwith Ross Taylor is the most experienced player with fiveTests here. In complete contrast, India have won nine of their last10 Tests played at home and the only draw was against SouthAfrica last year in Bangalore and that too because it was aweather-affected contest. PTI AT CM PMPM

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