At one of the more oddly shaped grounds in cricket begins what looks like a Test series between evenly matched sides. New Zealand were overwhelmingly the better side in the ODIs, but they will surely know it won’t be easy to roll India over during the Tests. There is evidence of that in how India put up a fight in the Tests in South Africa after an ODI series that was even more horrible than the one in New Zealand. Also the hosts have a record to correct, that of having won only three home Tests – two against West Indies and one against Zimbabwe – since the start of 2011.
India have a statistic of their own to match. They haven’t won any of their last 12 away Tests. They can draw inspiration from how well they played on the first four days of the Wanderers Test. The biggest difference from the ODIs will be that their batsmen will be able to allow a few short balls go through without the pressure of having to score at more than six an over. Four Indian batsmen showed they had the patience to keep respecting the good balls in South Africa; India will need more of that.
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