KANPUR, India (AFP) – India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bat in Kanpur for the first of two Tests against visiting Test world champions New Zealand on Thursday.
The hosts opted for three specialist spinners — Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel — for their first match against the Black Caps since June’s World Test Championship final defeat in Southampton.
Middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer, for India, and spinning allrounder Rachin Ravindra, for New Zealand, will make their debuts.
New Zealand opted for two specialist spinners — Ajaz Patel and William Somerville — backed up by Ravindra.
The team will be led by Kane Williamson who returns after opting out of the recent T20 series whitewash to India.
“The surface looks good and generally plays good for the first two days and then gets slower and lower,” Rahane said after the toss.
Williamson said that the Kiwis would also have chosen to bat.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Writddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Rachin Ravindra, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, William Somerville