As if injuries to Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry weren’t enough, New Zealand were hampered by absence of Scott Kuggleijn and Mitchell Santner for the second ODI. Tim Southee, too, battled an illness while Ish Sodhi had been released to play a four-dayer against India A in Lincoln.
Southee soldiered on and meticulously took down India captain Virat Kohli, but had to leave the field after finishing his ten overs. So depleted were New Zealand that they had to call their assistant coach Luke Ronchi as a substitute fielder. Yet, they dug deep enough to overcome a batting collapse and a late scare from Ravindra Jadeja to sew up the series.
But problems – even outside fitness reasons – persist. Ross Taylor has fired in both the ODIs, but the rest of the middle-order has faltered. Williamson’s return at Bay Oval, his home ground, could remedy some of those issues. He had a proper workout on the eve of the game, and is set to resume his mouth-watering tussle against Jasprit Bumrah. Santner and Kuggleijn are also coming along well, according to bowling coach Shane Jurgensen, while Sodhi has flown back to Mount Maunganui and rejoined the squad along with fast bowler Blair Tickner.
After India had conceded the series in Auckland, Kohli reckoned that the team management might use this dead rubber to test out their bench. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who hasn’t played a single match so far on tour, might get a look-in on Tuesday. Will there be some room in the middle order for Manish Pandey too? Allrounder Shivam Dube is also among India’s reserves and hasn’t played in India’s last nine ODIs.
New Zealand WWTWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Colin de Grandhomme din’t bowl in two of the three T20Is he played, but has been pretty tidy with the ball in the two ODIs. After removing Prithvi Shaw with an outswinger in the first game, he tricked KL Rahul into cutting a ball that was neither short or wide enough for the shot. His batting form, though, has cooled off and he has floated down the order as the hosts have looked to maintain a left-right combination. Can he land the mighty blows with the bat on Tuesday?
There has been plenty of scrutiny over Kedar Jadhav‘s role in the current set-up. He has played some charming cameos while coming in with just a few deliveries left, but has bowled all of one over with the ball since the World Cup. Jadhav has one more opportunity in Mount Maunganui before the new selection panel picks the squad for the three-match ODI series at home against South Africa in March.
Having been severely depleted by injuries and illness, New Zealand have called in reinforcements in the form of Sodhi and Tickner.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Henry Nicholls, 3 Kane Williamson (capt.), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Kyle Jamieson, 10 Ish Sodhi/Mitchell Santner, 11 Hamish Bennett/Scott Kuggleijn
Having given Mohammed Shami a break at Eden Park, India might look to rest Bumrah ahead of the Test series and bring back Shami. And it remains to be seen whether Pant will take over the gloves from Rahul.
India (probable): 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul/Rishabh Pant, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Kedar Jadhav/Manish Pandey/Shivam Dube, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Mohammed Shami/Jasprit Bumrah
Pitch and conditions
The Bay Oval rolled out a fairly slow track the last time these two sides met in an ODI at this venue in 2019. The T20I game that the Bay Oval had hosted last week was also similarly slow and provided some assistance to the bowlers. The weather is likely to be nice and pleasant for the duration of the match.
Stats and trivia
The last time India were whitewashed in a bilateral ODI series of three or more matches was in 1989 when they lost 5-0 in the West Indies.
India have played two ODIs at this venue and have won both.
Henry Nicholls has made 315 runs in 10 ODI innings as an opener at an average of 35 and strike rate of 70. His last three scores at the top read: 41, 78 and 55.
“The T20 series didn’t go according to plan, but we knew we weren’t too far off. We’ve played some good cricket in the one-dayers…although we’re missing a couple of guys, as a whole, the one-day side has been tracking pretty good.”
“I think Taylor’s batting really well. Once he’s set he can play on the leg side like he’s a God. We have to be precise bowling to him.”