India vs New Zealand 1st Test on February 29 (Saturday) will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network and live streaming will be available on Hotstar. The match will be played in Christchurch and will begin at 04:00 HRS IST. You can also follow all the action on our live blog (IND vs NZ).
A green pitch awaits India and New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch for the second and last Test beginning Saturday.
India are already under pressure, having lost the first Test by 10 wickets in Wellington. To make things tougher, they are set to lose Ishant Sharma, their best bowler in the first game, to an injury. It's a massive blow given their other pacers - Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah - were below par in Wellington.
The loss of Ishant compounds India's issues, which begin right at the top of the batting order. Prithvi Shaw's technique came under the scanner in the last Test, but India seem set to continue with him ahead of Shubman Gill. Shaw had an injury scare two days ahead of the second Test but coach Ravi Shastri confirmed that he's fit and fine to go.
While Shaw is a newcomer to the Test arena, India will expect more from the senior batsmen Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. They tallied only 43 runs across four innings in the first game, and clearly need to do more if India have to win. At numbers 3 and 4, they form the heart of the batting line up and cannot afford simultaneous failures once again.
Both Kohli and Pujara have scored plenty of runs in tough overseas conditions in the past, and will be looking to do the same on a green track in Christchurch as well. The other two key batsmen, Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane were the only ones who seemed in any sort of control.
The Indian batsmen's job will only get tougher with the return of Neil Wagner, who missed the first Test due to the birth of his first child. With Wagner back, India can expect plenty more of the short-pitched stuff that was so successful in the first game.
India have some selection questions too, particularly in the spin department. R Ashwin did well to pick up three wickets in Wellington, but his batting has become a cause of concern. He made a first-ball duck and four in two innings, and India could perhaps be tempted to go to Ravindra Jadeja, who has been in much better form with the bat over the last two years.
Ishant's absence gives Umesh Yadav a chance overseas following a very successful home season where he picked 23 wickets in four Tests.
New Zealand, meanwhile, would want to do nothing different from what they've been doing so successfuly at home over the last few seasons. They've won 11 of their last 13 Test series at home, including five in a row, and will be looking to increase that tally.
Almost all New Zealand batsmen got starts last game, with Kane Williamson the highest scorer with 89.
New Zealand too face a selection dilemma with the return of Wagner. They handed a debut to Kyle Jamieson in Wellington, and the tall pacer impressed picking four wickets in the first innings and following it up with a useful 44 in the lower order.
Jamieson is now 'undroppable', which means New Zealand could go with an all-pace attack dropping Ajaz Patel, who bowled only six overs in the first Test.
There could be scattered showers on Saturday, but the weather should be fine for most part of the Test.
India Squad: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(w), R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Wriddhiman Saha, Navdeep Saini
New Zealand Squad: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell