Mumbai’s unseasonal monsoon is likely to disrupt play on the first day of the second Test between India and New Zealand and the Wankhede Stadium pitch is expected to be bowler-friendly due to rain.
On Wednesday, the entire day of rain forced both the teams to call off their training sessions. Rain is predicted for Thursday as well and the outfield will remain wet. In such a situation, the Indian team will go to the Bandra Kurla Complex ground, which has indoor practice facilities, while it is not so at the Wankhede Stadium. There is no grass at all on the Wankhede Stadium pitch, which can help the slow bowlers.
However, the Wankhede pitch is expected to help both the fast bowlers and the spinners in the Test starting Friday. Due to incessant rain, the pitch has been kept covered due to which there will be a lot of moisture under the surface. The extra moisture will certainly help the fast bowlers more than Kanpur, but a wicket like this will give a lot of turn to the spinners as well.
Rain is predicted on Friday, but both the teams especially India will pray that the weather does not disturb on the second to fifth day. All eyes are also on the combination of the Indian team for this match. The return of skipper Virat Kohli in the playing XI is almost certain to exclude Mayank Agarwal as the support staff including head coach Rahul Dravid and bowling coach Paras Mahambre have backed Ajinkya Rahane, who has been battling poor form. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha could be ruled out due to a neck stiffness and Srikar Bharat could get a chance to replace him. He can open the innings with Shubman Gill.
If conditions are conducive to fast bowling, Muhammad Siraj can be included in the team in place of Ishant Sharma or both of them can form a fast bowling trio with Umesh Yadav and in such a situation Axar Patel will have to sit out.