Mumbai, december 2
India will hope the return of regular captain Virat Kohli would prove to be the difference for the hosts against New Zealand when the world’s two top-ranked Test sides clash in the second and final match at the Wankhede Stadium from Friday.
Debutant Rachin Ravindra and No. 11 batters Ajaz Patel combined in a last-wicket stand for New Zealand during the last session in Kanpur to see out the final 52 balls to deny India victory and leave the series evenly poised.
While Kohli’s return after a rest will be a welcome boost for the second-ranked test side’s batting, it will also leave them with a selection headache.
Seeking best combo deal
Kohli indicated that they may field an extra pacer to exploit the likely change in conditions if persistent rainfall continues.
Mumbai is witnessing heavy unseasonal rain which has caused a sharp drop in temperature. The overcast conditions would bring seam and swing bowlers into the equation due to underlying moisture content.
“There is a weather change and we have to keep that into account and pick the combination accordingly,” Kohli said, hinting that the three-spinner strategy could be revised for this game.
It could pave the way for Mohammed Siraj’s inclusion in the playing 11.
“At the end of the day, you cannot assume weather conditions will remain like this over the five days. So, we need to see what bowling combination should be picked that can tackle in different conditions. If we reach a common understanding and if everyone agrees, we go in with that combination,” Kohli said.
Also, calls have grown to drop either Ajinkya Rahane, who led India in Kanpur, or Cheteshwar Pujara — both of whom have been short of runs — and allow the in-form Shreyas Iyer to retain his place. The captain, however, didn’t give any definitive answer about Rahane’s place in the side. — Agencies