NZ opt to bat after India ODI pitch controversy | Sports

Kohli and Williamson shake hands/File photo

PUNE: New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first against India in the second one-day international Wednesday after officials gave the Pune match the go-ahead following a pitch-tampering controversy.

“We´ll bat. It looks like a good surface so we´ll try to make the most of it first up,” said Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson after the coin landed in his favour.

Williamson said New Zealand would start with the same 11 that stunned India by six wickets in the first ODI in Mumbai on Sunday.

A win for New Zealand at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in the western city of Pune would see the Kiwis secure the three-match series with a game to spare.

Indian captain Virat Kohli made one change from the team that lost on Sunday as the hosts, three places above New Zealand in the world rankings, bid to keep the contest alive.

All-rounder Axar Patel replaces spinner left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

“We wanted to field anyway so it´s not such a bad thing,” Kohli told broadcasters after losing the toss.

ICC officials cleared the match to start after India´s cricket board banned an official from the ground after he was recorded saying he tampered with the pitch ahead of the game.

Pandurang Salgaoncar, the pitch manager at the Pune ground, was exposed during an undercover sting by India Today TV.

He has been suspended and replaced by “a neutral curator” who inspected the pitch and found it to be fine, CK Khanna, acting president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told AFP.

The third ODI takes place in Kanpur on Sunday. The two sides will then play three T20 matches.

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wicketkeeper), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult

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