India and New Zealand will resume their cricketing rivalry on Thursday, with the first of their three-Test series starting in Kanpur. The series moves on to Kolkata and then to Indore for the next two Tests. But all signs point towards a win for the hosts, as New Zealand hasn't won a single Test in India since 1989.
Of the 31 Test matches played in India, New Zealand has won just two, losing 13 and drawing 16. The two sides have taken part in 10 series on Indian soil, and eight of these have gone in favour of the hosts, with two ending in draws.
Not only is track record and history on the side of India, even recent form suggests Virat Kohli's men will start favourites. They are unbeaten in their last 10 Tests, while New Zealand has had an up-and-down time of late, winning four, losing four and drawing two in the same period.
Most teams struggle to put up good performances in the sub-continent because they take time to adjust to the conditions here, and more often than not, that means they lose the opening games. New Zealand is no different in this regard. Of the 10 Test series New Zealand has played in India, it's lost the opening Test five times, drawing it on five occasions. It's yet to win the opening Test of a series in India. In five days' time we will know if they have managed a first-time win in Kanpur.
In fact, it's not just in India that New Zealand struggles to do well; the Kiwis have done poorly in Pakistan as well. New Zealand's win-loss ratio of 0.153 from 21 matches in India is its worst among all the countries it has played Tests in, although it has an identical 0.153 ratio for Tests in Pakistan as well. Clearly, the challenges of playing on the sub-continent are something the Black Caps are yet to master.
Both teams have relatively inexperienced captains, but India has done particularly well under Virat Kohli, under whose captaincy it has not lost a single Test at home. It's Kohli's leadership record that would spell further doom for Williamson and his men.
The two teams have played two Tests at Kanpur before, one match going in India's favour and the other ending in a draw. They have also played two Tests at Kolkata's Eden Gardens, and both Tests there have ended in draws. The third match, to be held at Indore's Holkar Stadium, will be the first ever Test at the Madhya Pradesh city.