New Delhi: India will begin the new season by taking on New Zealand in the two-Test series beginning on August 23. Both teams had an unspectacular last season and would like to kick-off a new one with a bang to erase the glum memories of the past. India were whitewashed 4-0 by both England and Australia when they toured there while New Zealand suffered an ignominious 2-0 defeat against West Indies in the recently concluded Caribbean tour.
This will be the tenth Test series between both the countries on Indian soil. They’ve played 29 Test matches against each other in India and the hosts have a far superior record. They’ve won 11 Test matches while New Zealand have only managed to clinch two Test matches. Their two Test victories in India came in Nagpur in 1969-70 (by 167 runs) and Mumbai in 1988-89 (by 136 runs). Hedley Howarth and John Bracewell respectively were the architects of their victories.
New Zealand batsman in India has been Bert Sutcliffe with 885 runs in nine Tests at an average of 68.07. He toured India twice and asserted his authority both times, helping New Zealand save a couple of matches. Among the current batsmen, Brendon McCullum had a superb time with the bat the last time New Zealand visited India in 2010-11. He notched up 370 runs and his double-century in Hyderabad had put his team in a commanding position.
For India, Rahul Dravid has scored the maximum runs against New Zealand at home, followed by Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Vinoo Mankad also features in the list. He had an outstanding series against New Zealand in 1955-56 when he hit 526 runs in four Test matches at a Bradmanesque average of 105.20. He smashed two double-centuries in the series and his score of 231 in Chennai remained rge highest by any Indian batsman in Test matches until Sunil Gavaskar made 236 against West Indies in 1983-84.
Sir Richard Hadlee took 31 wickets against India in India in six matches which included a ten-wicket haul in Mumbai in 1988-89. He and Bracewell sealed a memorable, and rare, Test victory for New Zealand in India. Daniel Vettori is the second on the list and New Zealand will miss him this time on the slow and turning wickets. He has taken 31 wickets in eight Test matches.
The top five Indian bowlers against New Zealand at home are, unsurprisingly, all spinners. Srinivas Venkataraghavan leads the pack with 43 wickets in nine Test matches. Anil Kumble snared 39 wickets in eight Test matches and Bishan Singh Bedi picked up 37 scalps in six. Among the current bowlers, Pragyan Ojha and Zaheer Khan are at No. 13 and 14 with 12 and 11 wickets respectively.