Big picture: India dominant in ODIs at home too
It isn’t spoken about as much as their remarkable home record in Test cricket, but India are perhaps just as dominant in ODIs in their own conditions. Since the start of 2010, they’ve played 25 bilateral home series, and won 22 of them.
They could now be in for a stiffer challenge, though. New Zealand have been among the most competitive ODI sides to visit India of late – their two most recent series here in 2016 and 2017 both went into deciders – and they’re fresh from winning 2-1 in Pakistan.
But New Zealand will know India can be beaten, even in subcontinental conditions, and they might look at Bangladesh – who beat India 2-1 at home just over a month ago – for clues as to how to do so. Quality spin that attacks the stumps could be a key ingredient.
Either way, win or lose, New Zealand will want to take away as many insights as they can before they return for the World Cup. A strong performance now could put them in just the right space to mount a serious title challenge in October-November.
India WWWWL (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
New Zealand WWLWL
In the spotlight: Chance for Kishan to make his case
India have made it clear that their preferred opening combination leading up to the World Cup is Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. It leaves no room in their first-choice XI for Ishan Kishan, whose last ODI innings was the fastest double-hundred in the format. But he gets an opportunity now with KL Rahul missing the series for personal reasons. If he can grab this chance, he won’t just keep putting pressure on multiple batters in India’s ODI line-up but also make a case to be selected ahead of KS Bharat in the first Test against Australia next month.
Team news: Iyer out with back injury
Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of the series with a back injury, and Rajat Patidar has taken his place in the squad. Iyer’s spot in the XI, however, is likely to go to Suryakumar Yadav, with Kishan taking the keeping gloves and the other middle-order slot from Rahul. Washington Sundar is likely to come in for Axar Patel, who’s also sitting out this series.
With Hardik Pandya set to return after being rested for the third ODI against Sri Lanka, India could go two ways with their attack – three specialist quicks plus Hardik, which will leave them having to choose between Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, or three spinners, in which case they can pick both wristspinners.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Ishan Kishan (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Umran Malik.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Mark Chapman/Henry Nicholls, 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Tom Latham (capt & wk), 6 Glenn Phillips, 7 Michael Bracewell, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 and 10 two out of Henry Shipley, Doug Bracewell and Jacob Duffy, 11 Lockie Ferguson.
Pitch and conditions: Hyderabad pitch likely to aid spin
In six ODIs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, spinners have averaged 38.70 and conceded 4.96 runs per over, both significantly better than the fast bowlers’ corresponding figures (though it must be noted that they bowl more overs in the difficult phases) of 40.84 and 5.74. In the most recent ODI here, in March 2019, India won by six wickets after their spinners – Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav – returned combined figures of 27-0-110-3 to restrict Australia to 236. Expect spin, therefore, to play a significant role on Wednesday. The weather is set to be clear, with a maximum temperature of 31 degrees Celsius.