New Zealand will target a 2-0 whitewash when they face West Indies in the second Test at Wellington on Friday. New Zealand won the first Test by an innings and 134 runs, with skipper Kane Williamson leading from the front with a career-best score of 251.
Playing at home, New Zealand start favorites against injury-hit West Indians. If New Zealand does go on to win the second Test, it will be their fourth Test win in a row, after having beaten India 2-0 early this year before the world came to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. But New Zealand will be without their skipper Williamson as he is on paternity leave.
The West Indians are an unpredictable bunch of players across formats. And they won't go down without fighting. Under Jason Holder, they have a history of springing up surprises in the longer version of the game. But Holder has to lead from the front, with both bat and ball to inspire his teammates to pose a serious threat to NZ's dominance at home.
West Indies have to improve in all departments to give the Kiwis a run for their money. But that's easier said than done as even the No 1 Test team India, under Virat Kohli, has failed to beat the Kiwis in the latter's home ground.
Match Toss Time: 10:30 Local (03:00 IST)
Match Start Time: 11:00 Local (03:30 IST)
Match Venue: Basin River, Wellington
The weather could be cloudy on the first day, but the chance of rain is minimal. The subsequent days could be sunny, with temperatures hovering around 12 degrees Celsius to 19 degrees Celsius. Hence, the match is not likely to get affected by any external factor.
Basin Reserve in Wellington is known to favor pace bowling. The first morning would be crucial for the bowling side to exploit the moisture in the pitch, and gain an advantage early on in the match by taking a few quick wickets. It would be a challenge for the batsmen to stay put at the wicket in the first morning. Hence, winning the toss, and choosing to field first would be the key. But once the match progresses, the pitch could be good for batting.
West Indies have few injury worries with keeper Shane Dowrich out due to a hand injury. He will be replaced by Joshua Da Silva. Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul are having fitness issues and may miss the second Test as well. Meanwhile, Kemar Roach is returning home due to his father's death and is not available for the second Test. His place is likely to be taken by Chemar Holder.
Williamson is not available due to the birth of his first child. Hence, Tom Latham will lead the side in the second Test. First-choice keeper BJ Watling is fit and will take over keeping duties from Tom Blundell.
Possible Playing XI
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Darren Bravo, Jermaine Blackwood, Sharmarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel, Joshua Da Silva, Chemar Holder
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Daryl Mitchell, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
NZ vs WI Fantasy Team
Tom Latham (NZ), Ross Taylor (NZ), Jermaine Blackwood (WI), Darren Bravo (WI), BJ Watling (NZ), Jason Holder (WI) Roston Chase (WI), Trent Boult (NZ), Neil Wagner (NZ), Tim Southee (NZ), Alzarri Joseph (WI)
Captain picks: Tim Southee (NZ), Neil Wagner (WI)
Vice-Captain picks: Jason Holder (WI), Ross Taylor (NZ)
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