India could make three changes, Steve Harmison suggests

Virat Kohli

Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison has backed India to make three changes for the second Test against the touring New Zealand side.

The two-match series remains level after the Black Caps hung on to rescue the match after final pair Rachin Ravindra and Ajax Patel batted nine overs to claim an unlikely draw.

The stage was set after India had posted a challenging 345 in their first innings, before New Zealand’s opening pair Will Young (89) and Tom Latham (95) added 151 for the first wicket to seemingly be in a commanding position.

However, some dodgy batting and fine bowling saw Kane Williamson’s side stumble to 296 all out, which handed the hosts a 49-run lead at the halfway stage of the match.

In their second innings, the hosts too struggled on a wicket which took more and more turn, and found themselves at 51/5 at one point.

Thanks largely to debutant Shreyas Iyer (65) and Wriddhiman Saha (61), they were able to declare with the score on 234/7, leaving the Kiwis with the improbable task of chasing 284 to record an unlikely victory.

Ultimately they were able to hang on to finish the final day on 165/9 to record a memorable result.

Who makes way for Kohli?

Ahead of the start of the second Test, which starts on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Harmison has suggested how he would fit returning Virat Kohli in the team, as well as some other changes he expects to be made.

“I think they both make way, there are lots of questions about Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar 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 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.”

Kohli was rested for the first Test and with his regular deputy Rohit Sharma missing the series completely, Rahane led the side in their absence.