Harmison tips India to make three changes for second Test vs New Zealand


Steve Harmison backs Virat Kohli to return to the team for the second Test (Picture: Getty/talkSPORT)

Steve Harmison wants to see India make three changes to their team for the second Test match vs New Zealand starting Friday. 

The series remains level at 0-0 following the first Test, after the Black Caps batted the entire fifth day to rescue a draw, with final pair Rachin Ravindra and Ajax Patel lasting the best part of nine overs in an eventful final session.

India posted a respectable 345 in their first innings, before New Zealand openers Will Young (89) and Tom Latham (95) fought back to guide their team to 151-0. 

The visitors then collapsed to 296 all out, to give India a first-innings lead of 49 runs, ahead of what was bound to be a tough task batting last on a spinning wicket.

After falling to 51-5 and then 103-6 in their second innings, India recovered to declare on 234-7 thanks to crucial runs from debutant Shreyas Iyer (65) and Wriddhiman Saha (61). 

New Zealand therefore need an improbable 284 from just over a day to record a memorable win. 

The second Test will take place at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai (Picture: Getty)

However, they never looked like reaching the total, finishing on 165-9 to keep the series level going into the second Test in Mumbai, a game which sees the return of star player Virat Kohli.

Former England bowler Harmison wants India to make several wholesale changes to their XI heading to Mumbai and has called for struggling batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara to be dropped, while also questioning seam bowler Ishant Sharma’s role in the team.

‘I think they both make way, there’s lots of questions about Rahane and Pujara, they both might make way. I think Suryakumar Yadav, he plays in Mumbai for Mumbai Indians,’ he told talkSPORT.

‘He was brought into the squad a replacement for KL Rahul, I think they both [Rahane and Pujara] looked as if they were done, they both walked off the field in that first innings as I they knew it may be the last time they walk off the field for India.

‘Pujara especially, 39 innings without a hundred is a long time for a player to bat in the top six and still warrant a place in that great Indian side. 

‘There’s a lot of players missing at the moment and you might just see another debutant or player who hasn’t played a lot of international cricket. 

‘If you leave one out, I’d leave both out as they’ve both been as bad as each other because you’re definitely going to bring Kohli back into the side. 

‘The question is then who do you bat at No.3? I think it’ll be harsh just to leave either of them out, I think it’s time for India to make a change of both of them. 

‘For me both seamers were also below par in the first Test match, for the life of me I don’t understand how Ishant Sharma got another game of Test cricket after what he did in England, so for me I’d bring [Mohammed] Siraj in for him. 

‘The three spinners bowled well enough, so they’ll be the only changes I make.’

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