» Cricket » Second NZ Test: 'Prithvi is ready to go'; Jadeja may replace Ashwin

Second NZ Test: 'Prithvi is ready to go'; Jadeja may replace Ashwin

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
Last updated on: February 28, 2020 13:06 IST
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Pacer Ishant Sharma aggravates right ankle injury and could miss Test.

Prithvi Shaw bats in the nets during Team India's training session in Christchurch.

IMAGE: Prithvi Shaw bats in the nets during Team India's training session in Christchurch on Friday. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

Their pride bruised and technique exposed in adverse conditions, India's famed batting line-up faces its hour of reckoning against a New Zealand pace attack, threatening to be relentless with its short ball tactics in the second Test, starting Saturday.


The ignominy of a defeat in less than five days in a World Test Championship encounter has certainly jolted a batting line-up that prides itself in performing in tough conditions.

And none other than coach Ravi Shastri is first to agree.

"A shake up like this is good as it opens your mindset. When you are on the road all the time and have not tasted defeat, it can close your mindset," declared Shastri, forthright in his admission that complacency had crept in somewhere.

Come Saturday, the Virat Kohlis, Cheteshwar Pujaras and Ajinkya Rahanes will face an even tougher test on a green top at the Hagley Oval where the Black Caps have won all but one Test.

Virat Kohli checks out his bats during Friday's training in Christchurch.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli checks out his bats during Friday's training in Christchurch. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

With Neil Wagner, the peerless practitioner of the short-ball tactic, joining Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson in aiming for the rib cage from round the wicket, there will be more probing questions on offer during the next five days.

The good news for India is that Prithvi Shaw was back in the nets with an extensive session under the watchful eyes of the coach and some valuable tips from the skipper.

"Prithvi is ready to go," the coach cleared the air on the opener's fitness.

What the Indian team would want is one among Aninkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari and Cheteshwar Pujara to show positive intent as their identical defensive game is bound to put too much pressure on skipper Kohli.

However, there’s some bad news as well. Senior speedster Ishant Sharma, the team's best bowler in the first Test, has aggravated the right ankle injury he had suffered during a Ranji Trophy game last month. He was likely to be out for six weeks with a grade three tear, but NCA head physio Ashish Kaushik green-lighted his return to international cricket. As per team sources, Ishant's scan report is awaited as he looks doubtful as of now.

The visitors, in all likelihood, will have two changes in the playing eleven from the last Test: Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to lose his spot to Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav or Navdeep Saini will be inducted in case Ishant fails to make it.

While Shastri said that a call will be taken tomorrow on Jadeja and Ashwin, he gave enough hint that Saurashtra all-rounder has his nose ahead.

"You look at the conditions and also check how much a spinner would bowl. Ashwin is a world-class bowler but I guess he would be disappointed with his batting." 

Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah bowl in the nets.

IMAGE: Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah bowl in the nets. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

For New Zealand, it could be an all-pace attack considering that Ajaz Patel, the specialist left arm spinner, had precious little to do at the Basin Reserve.

With Wagner getting his place back, the team management would find it difficult to bench Jamieson, who won Man of the Match award on Test debut.

"It's a good kind of worry to have for Kane," senior pacer Trent Boult said when asked who among Jamieson and Patel would feature in the playing eleven.

The green pitch will be hard, even bouncy with good carry, according to the curator and that's exactly what Boult wants.

"From a bowling perspective, it's exciting (to see the pitch). I hope it stays that way. With cloud cover and a surface like this, seam and swing will be on offer," Boult feels.

For the Indian team, it's not only about batting as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami's underwhelming show at the Basin has also been a cause of concern. Their length was awry and failure to get the tail-enders quickly stuck out like a sore thumb.

Bumrah, in particular, has had an indifferent tour and this is the first time in his four year international career where he is experiencing a bad patch.

But his coach is very confident that a "five for or six-for" is just around the corner.


New Zealand (12): Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling (wk), Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel.

India (12): Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shubman Gill.

Match starts: 4 am IST.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.