Indore Test: India aim for clean sweep, NZ eye consolation win

first_imgWith the series already sealed and the number one Test spot cemented, a dominant India go into the third Test against New Zealand tomorrow in Indore, aiming yet another clean sweep of a Test series at home. (Gautam Gambhir will play third Test, confirms captain Virat Kohli)The hosts had blanked Australia 4-0 in 2012-13 and the West Indies in the next season. They nearly repeated the feat against South Africa last year and this impressive history in recent past makes India favourites in the first-ever Test being hosted by this city which has a long tradition in the game.New Zealand, who have competed well in phases against the rampaging home team so far, have an enviable task of stopping the Virat Kohli-led side from notching up their 12th win at home from 14 encounters. (Virat Kohli’s India look to extend unbeaten run at home)The Kiwis would hope that captain Kane Williamson, who missed the second game due to illness, regains full fitness to lead them in their last-ditch effort to score a rare victory on the Indian soil.Williamson batted in the nets yesterday and bowling coach Shane Jurgensen said the signs were positive. Williamson is easily their most accomplished batsman to negate the twin threat of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as he showed in the lost cause (by 197 runs) in the series opener in Kanpur, making 75 and 25.In Williamson’s absence, the Kiwis folded up without much of a fight in the second Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. (Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir’s return evokes nostalgia)advertisementNew Zealand spinners too have been unable to put pressure on the Indian batsmen. However, their pacers have shown hunger in tough Indian conditions.Meanwhile, India would certainly miss the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is out with a back injury after grabbing a five-wicket haul in the first innings in Kolkata.Umesh Yadav, who played in the first game, is expected to be back into the playing XI. (Captaining India helped me play even better, says Virat Kohli)However, the biggest threat for the Kiwi batsmen are Ashwin, with his variety in off spin, and Jadeja, who bowls left arm spin with pin-point accuracy.In batting, Cheteshwar Pujara has been the man in form even as the the team management would be pleased with Rohit Sharma for playing a responsible knock in the second innings of the Kolkata Test. (India’s future bright under Virat Kohli: Sourav Ganguly to India Today)Gautam Gambhir is also set to return to the top of the order and play in his first Test after losing his place during the England tour in 2014. He will be the third opening partner in the series for Murali Vijay who opened with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in the first two Tests before both went out of the squad by picking up injuries.The weather could also play its part in Indore as light showers have been forecast for the last two days of the game.Teams:New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Jeetan Patel, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner and BJ Watling.India: Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Karun Nair.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more