After winning the recently concluded one day series quite comfortable M.S.Dhoni want the same performance from his teammates to create another history by winning the test series. India have last won the test series here in New Zealand way back in 1976. The kind of for Virendra Sehwag shown in one day series, he will be trump card for Indians at the top order.
Dhoni said he wants Sehwag to play his natural game. "We want him to play the way he wants to play, because that is his natural style. We all know if he gets going he can dominate the bowlers and all of a sudden you see the bowling attack rattled". He also added "if he spend two-three hours at the crease he is capable of getting big scores, he is not kind of batsman who got out in 30's or 40's".
In last one year India have performed really well in the test series played overseas and it will be big test for them how they tackle the bouncy and seaming wickets in New Zealand.
New Zealand will be also keen to win the series which they never done since last four years at home. Their last win was come in 2004-05 against Sri Lanka. They will be delighted by the return of James Franklin and hope that he delivered both with bat and ball. New Zealand bowlers will be somehow relieved by the fact that now they have to face Indian batsman in test format rather than ODI format.
All in all it's expected to be great game of cricket between India and New Zealand over next five days at SeddonPark, Hamilton with both team look to take the initiative by winning the first test match of the three match series.
Watch out for
Virendra Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir: The faith of the series will lots depends on how these two play in the three match test series. If both of them able to give India a brisk start as usually they do then New Zealand bowlers have very hard time facing strong middle order Indian batting lineup. In a recently concluded ODI's he scored 299 runs with an impressive strike rate of 150 and his partner too able to smashed his first and only fifty at this venue on this tour.
James Franklin: He is no more a left-arm swing blower but he has developed himself as handy all-rounder who can make handy contribution with the bat lower down the order. He even scored a double-century in the State Championship and is set to take Jacob Oram's spot in the batting line-up.
Pitch and conditions
This is the same pitch where fourth ODI was played in which New Zealand manage to score 270/5 in 47 overs while India achieve the target without loosing a single wickets. However this time New Zealand curator has left green grass on top of the turf which will provide ample support to seam bowlers in the first session of each days play. However if any team survive first session then it will become good wicket to bat on in the afternoon session.
Rain is expected to play their part on second and third days of Test Match at SeddonPark, Hamilton.
Stats & Trivia
For India Rahul Dravid has an impressive record at SeddonPark. He has scored 341 runs at an average of 113.66 in two test matches, while Sachin Tendulkar has scored 162 runs at an average of 40.5. For New Zealand Captain Daniel Vettori has scored 445 runs with an impressive average of 44.5 in eight test matches and Ross Taylor who has played only one test at this venue poses an average of 63.0.
New Zealand have played 14 test matches at this venue winning 6 and loosing two test matches while six are ended in drawn. India have played three test matches at SeddonPark, Hamilton loosing one and while drawing other two.
At this venue Fast Bowlers manages to grab 171 wickets with an average of 26.00 while spinners have only 35 wickets to their names with an average of 44.2.
Sachin Tendulkar after missing the last two ODI's is likely to be back in the squad for 1st Test match starting at SeddonPark, Hamilton. Ten out of eleven playing spot is almost certain; the fight will be for 11th spot for the third seamer. It’s all depends on M.S.Dhoni whether he will go with L.Balaji or Munaf Patel. However by seeing the Munaf performance in recently concluded ODI he is likely to be sitting out from first test match.
On the other hand for New Zealand, M.Guptill is likely to make his Test debut and J.Franklin will be back in the team after long layoff. J.Franklin is now developed himself as genuine all rounder and will be handy with the bat at number six. New Zealand think tank is likely to go into the match with four seamer (Mills, Franklin, Martin and I.O'Brien) and one spin bowler (Captain himself).
Likely Playing XI for both teams (Match is schedule to begin at India Time and will be Played from 18th – 22nd March)