Our Pick India are favourites to win
India have started off their home season perfectly with a thumping 197-run victory over New Zealand in the first of the three-match test series at Kanpur. The Kiwis will now have to win both the remaining fixtures in order to win the series. But they have been struck with a major blow as offspinner Mark Craig has been ruled out of the remainder of the series due to a side strain. He will be replaced by another offspinner Jeetan Patel who last featured in the national team in January 2013.
The second test will be played between September 30 and October 4 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Match is scheduled to begin at 9:30 AM local time.
Read on for our betting tips and match prediction for India vs New Zealand 2nd Test...
The ground has generally been a high scoring one and offers as much assistance to the pacers as it offers to the spinners. Eden Gardens has seen six first-innings scores of over 600 in its test history. 234, 631, 296, 316 and 616 are the previous five first-innings scores here and so the team that bats first will want to get to the 400-mark. In the last ten result-producing tests, five matches have been won by the side batting first and five by the side batting second. Ideally, on such a good batting surface, the team that wins the toss is more likely to bat first.
New Zealand's best chance in this match would be to win the toss, bat first and put up a big score on the board. Otherwise, they could be staring at an innings-defeat.
Predicted Score: 400-450
Once again, KL Rahul will be expected to give India some quick runs at the start of the innings while Vijay and Pujara, who both scored fifties in each innings, will look to consolidate and wear down the Kiwi bowlers. Pujara is undergoing a good phase and is more likely to top-score for India. Rohit Sharma has one of his two test hundreds at this ground and he could make a valuable contribution here. If the top three can get another 150 odd runs together, India should be well on their way towards the predicted total.
New Zealand's pace duo of Trent Boult and Neil Wagner shared five wickets between them in the first innings but could not pick up even one in the second innings. Though they bowled well, the Indian batsmen were not quite troubled by them as they were by Mitchell Santner who took a five-wicket haul in the match. The left-arm spinner is likely to impress in this match as well and should be backed to be the Kiwi top bowler. New Zealand will also need their other two spinners - Ish Sodhi and Jeetan Patel - to take wickets for keeping India's total to below 350.
Predicted Score: 300-350
With Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor struggling for runs, it will be up to Tom Latham and skipper Kane Williamson at the top of the order to ensure New Zealand get off to a good start. Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner made valuable contributions in both the innings and they are going to be the vital cogs in the middle order. Latham, Williamson, Ronchi and Santner - the four half-centurions from the first test - will be the key for New Zealand to reach the predicted score. Expect the ever consistent Kane Williamson to top-score for his team.
India are going to rely mainly on the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who together took 16 of the 20 Kiwi wickets to fall in the first match. Ashwin has become the fastest Indian to reach 200 wickets in test cricket and the second-highest overall. He has 14 wickets from three matches at this ground and has every chance of taking the most wickets in this match. It will be a bonus for India if their seamers can chip in with a few wickets, but mostly, they will be bowled just to give the spinners a rest in between long spells. There is no news yet whether they will be going in with an extra spinner in Amit Mishra in place of a fast bowler.
Of the 55 tests between the two teams, India have won 19 while New Zealand have won 10 with the rest resulting in a draw. New Zealand have played two test matches against India at the Eden Gardens and both ended in a draw.
India's overall record at the Eden Gardens in test matches is a pretty decent one - 11 wins, 9 losses and 19 draws from 39 matches. In their last 13 matches here, they have won 10, lost 3 and drawn 2. Recent performance has been very good with three wins in their previous four tests, and all three of them were won by an innings.
New Zealand have played only two test matches at this ground against India, and the fact that they were able to draw both these games will inject some confidence into the team ahead of the second test. The visitors managed to take control of the game for a few sessions and they were very much in it till the end of the second day's play, only to lose their way from there onwards.
38 out of the 78 tests played at this ground have resulted in a draw. Good batting conditions are likely on the cards for this match, and if the Kiwis are able to give an improved performance with the bat, there will be a good chance for a draw.
Although a New Zealand victory seems to be the least likely outcome, a draw could still be around the corner provided their batsmen offer a strong resistance. But we feel the Indian spinners will wreak havoc again and give India a 2-0 lead in the series.
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