With just 1 test win on Indian soil, New Zealand may not be hopeful in 2012 series for a win, specially reaching India after the loss at West Indies. Yet, the percentage of draw they have played at India and the weak Indian bowling attack may give them hopes of drawing the series.
The current Indian squad is not much different from the team that played the 2010 test against New Zealand. Even the Kiwis have retained 70% of the squad members that played in 2010.
While the Indian squad is still led by Dhoni, Ross Taylor has taken the mantel of captaincy from Vettori, who is out of the series due to injury.
New Zealand still have the double centurion and player of the match of 2012 Brendum McCullum who is all set to open again. His centurion partner McIntosh is missing this time. Guptill who scored a half-century (85 and 18) is now their key batsman based on current form. Taylor struggled in 2010 (24 & 7) and his current dip in form does not inspire. Williamson (4 & 69) has got more confidence now. Even in bowling, although the 5-wkt haul gainer Vettori is missing, yet Chris Martin and Southee have returned to accomplish incomplete mission. In 2010 they could manage only 1 and 3 wickets respectively. Now, they may be understanding the Indian condition better.
Gambhir and Sehwag were the tormentor in 2010. They have in fact only improved their reputation across the globe. Their century partnership in first innings and unbeaten 68-run partnership gave India the edge in match despite the double century of McCullum. Sehwag missed his century by 4 runs and hit half-centuries in both innings. Can he make it big this time? If yes, Kiwis have all the reason to be happy about the series being so short.
Gambhir on the other hand have now become one of the pillars of India. He has already hit half-century in last test against Kiwis. Although Laxman (74), Dravid (45) and Harbhajan (111) are missing this time, Tendulkar (13), Raina (20), Dhoni (14) alongwith new faces led by Kohli can still be a big threat to New Zealand bowling.
Zaheer Khan did grab 4 wickets in 1st innings, but in 2nd innings he could bowl only 7 complete overs. He has been a pain for New Zealand. His bowling will be the key for Indian hopes. With Sreesanth (4/209) and Harbhajan Singh missing, Pragyan Ojha (3/217) may get benefit of home ground.
Overall the first test match is set to be a contest between batting. The bowlers of both teams do not appear to be capable of taking 20 wickets. Unless the batsmen throw their wickets in a group, the test match will not produce any result considering the weak bowling attack of both teams.
Batsmen may set few more records when Hyderabad becomes the host of New Zealand for the 5th time in Indian Cricket History. The record of just 1 loss in 4 matches suits the visitors. 2012 may not be able to change the winning number.