New Zealand prepared for a test by spin at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur ahead of the first Test against hosts India that starts on Thursday.
The visitors have had the upper hand against their opponents in key games in tournaments in recent years, especially the ICC World Test Championship final, the ICC World Cup semifinal in 2019 and last month’s ICC T20 World Cup.
New Zealand had also enjoyed a 2-0 series win when they hosted India last year. But what is a relevant statistic for the visitors would be India’s 3-0 whitewash of the Test series when they toured India in 2017.
Since then New Zealand have added strength to their spin bowling department and has arrived in India for this tour with three frontline spinners – the left-arm duo of Mitchell Santner and Ajaz Patel to go along with off-spinner Will Somerville.
But the key question for captain Kane Williamson, who is returning to the squad after being rested for the T20s, will be to play three spinners or stick to their traditional strength of seam bowling.
The Blackcaps will crucially miss the services of Devon Conway, who injured himself in the T20 World Cup, and fast bowler Trent Boult, who has been rested for the Test series.