The Indians have rested Virat Kohli for the first Test and Ajinkya Rahane will lead the hosts in Kanpur. For New Zealand, Kane Williamson will be back to captain the team after opting out of the T20Is.
India and New Zealand have so far faced each other in 60 Tests, out of which the Indians have won 21 and the Kiwis 13. 26 matches have ended in a draw. India have an exceptional record against New Zealand at home, having won 16 and lost only two Tests.
Similarly, the Kiwis have been dominant in their home den, winning 10 and losing five. The first time the teams met at a neutral venue, New Zealand defeated India to clinch the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC).
Famous knocks by Indians against New Zealand in Test matches
There have been some excellent batting efforts by Indians against New Zealand in Test matches over the years. We pick five of the best.
#1 Vinoo Mankad – 231 (Chennai, 1956)
The legendary Vinoo Mankad was at his sublime best in the fifth Test of the five-match series in Chennai in January 1956. Opening the batting after India won the toss, Mankad occupied the crease for 525 minutes and scored 231 with the help of 21 fours.
This was the same Test in which Mankad featured in the legendary opening stand of 413 with Pankaj Roy (173). This stand remained the record for the highest first-wicket stand in Tests for five decades until it was broken by Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith in 2008.
Mankad and Roy batted through the entire opening day. The former returned unbeaten on 109, while Roy was batting on 114.
Mankad continued to dominate the New Zealand bowlers the next day before eventually falling for 231. This would remain the highest individual Test score by an Indian for 27 years until it was surpassed by Sunil Gavaskar, who made 236* against West Indies in 1983.
Coming back to the 1956 Test, India declared on 537 for 3 and went on to win the match by an innings and 109 runs. Subhash Gupte picked up nine wickets in the match, while Mankad claimed four scalps in New Zealand’s second innings after they were made to follow on.
#2 Rahul Dravid – 222 (Ahmedabad, 2003)
Current Team India coach Rahul Dravid loved batting for long hours. During the first Test of the two-match series against New Zealand in October 2003, Dravid was out in the middle for 578 minutes, during which he faced 387 balls and scored 222.
Batting first, India lost openers Aakash Chopra for 42 and Virender Sehwag for 29. Sachin Tendulkar also fell for 8, leaving the hosts in a spot of bother at 134 for 3. Dravid, however, frustrated the New Zealand bowling. India did not lose any further wickets on the day as Dravid returned unbeaten on 110 and VVS Laxman on 56.
On Day 2, ‘The Wall’ carried on his defiant effort. He reached a well-deserved double hundred with a boundary off Scott Styris. His long vigil ended when he was caught behind off Jacob Oram. Dravid struck 28 fours and a six during his innings. Sourav Ganguly scored exactly 100* as India declared on 500 for 5. Dravid contributed 73 in the second innings as well as the Test ended in a draw.