What was expected to be a thrilling and equally-balanced Test series in New Zealand started with one-way traffic as the hosts outrightly dominated India in the first match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
The Kiwis beat the number one Test team by 10 wickets before outplaying them in every department to hand the mighty Indians their first defeat of the ICC World Test Championships.
The Virat Kohli-led side will be desperate to overcome the deficit and hope that the star players, most of whom failed miserably in the series opener, perform to their potential.
The tourists have problems to deal with in every department starting from the opening pair. Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal have not looked in their usual touch and scored meagre scores of 16 and 27 for the first wicket in Wellington.
Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara will also be under some pressure after failing to score a century for more than a year. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane showed his class but fell prey without any support from the other end.
However, it will be Kohli who will be looked upon the most when India take to the field on Saturday. With scores of 45, 11, 38, 11, 51, 15, 9, 2 and 19 in his last 10 innings across formats, many fear he is heading towards a lean phase of his career like the one he suffered during the 2014 tour of England.
The Indian bowling attack, which has unarguably been the best in Test cricket for more than a year, lacked the venom in their approach as the local batsmen displayed little discomfort facing Jasprit Bumrah & Co.
Much will depend on if Bumrah can regain his viciousness in time for the second Test and forge the partnership with Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. One of the major reasons for India’s success in red-ball cricket has been the success rate of this fast-bowling trio.
New Zealand, on the other hand, will be hoping to win their first series of the Test Championship, especially after suffering the humiliating whitewash against Australia.
The history backs the hosts as in six Tests at Hagley Oval, New Zealand have won four, lost one to Australia, while one match against England ended in a draw.
The pace battery who had the Indian batsmen bamboozled in the first match will be further bolstered by Neil Wagner, who troubled Australia and most importantly, Steve Smith, with his short-pitched deliveries.
NZ vs IND, 2nd Test: Squad
India (12): Virat Kohli (C), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shubman Gill.
New Zealand (12): Kane Williamson (C), Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling (wk), Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel.