India faced New Zealand in the first Test of the two-match series, which ended in a draw on the final day at Green Park Kanpur. Despite the absence of several senior players, India put on a strong batting display, which was aided greatly by debutant Shreyas Iyer. Former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer praised this aspect of the hosts' team as well.
According to Jaffer, India performed admirably despite the absence of many of their senior batters. Iyer was making his debut, whereas Wriddhiman Saha hasn't played in a long time, which makes a big difference. The top order was expected to perform slightly better, but the majority of the work was done by lower middle order players.
“A lot of senior players are resting while A team is playing against South Africa and even then, we put up a great show and that itself says a lot about India’s bench strength. This time the top will be under pressure for different reasons as the main show has been put up by lower middle-order players,” said Jaffer.
“It is commendable how they fought back when openers were not making runs and Pujara and Rahane were struggling. Though they would have wanted the top order to score, I think they would be happy with the result and India will walk in as a confident side in Mumbai,” he added.
It should be noted that India was on the verge of victory in the first game until NZ debutant Rachin Ravindra showed steely nerves near the end. On the final day, when the visitors were nine wickets down, he saved the game for them. Iyer, who smashed a century and a half-century on his debut, contributed to India's strong run.
Spinners such as Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, and Axar Patel, on the other hand, performed admirably in the first Test match of the series.