The wait is finally over. Two months and a few days since Team India captured the Oval in the most stunning fashion one could ever imagine, the greatest Test team of the generation will be back in their den against reigning world Test champions New Zealand in Kanpur today, Thursday, November 25.
That India will be without the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah and will start as favourites in Kanpur is a testimony to their strength in depth and their sustained home dominance.
Since the start of 2013, Team India has dropped just two Tests at home and have obliterated every visiting team with ruthless disdain.
The major reason behind India's sustained dominance at home is their world beating spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja, who also double up as handy batters.
Add Axar Patel and one can very well imagine the level of task New Zealand have to deal with. Not only spinners, Indian pacers especially Umesh Yadav are a force to be reckoned with, even on flat Indian tracks.
Having said that, with the likes of Rohit, Virat, Rahul and Pant missing, and Pujara and Rahane not in the best of forms since the last two years, New Zealand will look to exploit the chink in India's batting and restrict them to a manageable total.
They have the pace bowling ammunition to exploit reverse swing and their spin attack, led by Ajaz Patel has previously led them to a series heist over Pakistan in the UAE.
Ultimately, the level of challenge that New Zealand will face will depend on how their batters, especially senior players like Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, fare against the trio of Ashwin, Axar and Jadeja.
Where: Green Park, Kanpur
When: November 25-29, 2021
Ajinkya Rahane said in the pre-match presser that the team will look to "make use of home conditions" and with Green Park traditionally a venue that favours spinners, one can expect a trial by spin for the visitors.
Do you know?
- Last time these two sides played in Kanpur, New Zealand were hammered by 197 runs with Ashwin and Jadeja accounting for 16 wickets between them.
- India are yet to drop a Test series at home since the winter of 2012/13.
- New Zealand have never won a Test series in India.
- Ashwin has taken 52 wickets in 7 games against New Zealand at an average of 16.53 with six five-wicket hauls and three ten-for.
- Rahane is yet to lose a game as Test skipper. He has led India in 5 Tests, winning four while one ended in a draw.
- New Zealand were blanked 0-2 and 0-3 during their last two visits to India in 2012 and 2016.