NZ vs Ind 1st Test Preview – Stern test for India awaits
New Zealand steamrolled India in the 5-match ODI series, signaling world cricket that they aren't a side to be overlooked in the shorter format. But it won't be a cakewalk to beat India in Tests, they must know. MS Dhoni and his men put up much of a fight in the Test series against South Africa, which only means the Kiwis can ill-afford to take the visitors lightly.
New Zealand have won only 3 home Tests against West Indies and Zimbabwe in the recent times. They will be eager to better their records against a much higher ranked side that India is. On the other hand, India haven't managed to win a single Test in their last 12 away games. Though, their recent performance in SA will certainly inspire them here. India will need more responsible batting from the likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and the rest of the line-up. The bowling will be India's main cause of concern. Three of Zaheer Khan's seven fifers have come in New Zealand, so India will be banking on him for a good show.
For the Kiwis, the challenge will be taking 20 Indian wickets on hard pitches that refuse to crack up. Tim Southee will most likely spearhead the attack, with able help from Trent Boult. Southee had a rewarding tour of India last year and he will be hoping to continue attacking the Indian batsmen. New Zealand have two very good batsmen in Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. Their form will be crucial for the hosts, as has been the case in the recently concluded ODIs.
The first Test between New Zealand and India will be played at Eden Park in Auckland from February 6-10.