KANPUR India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat against a spin-heavy New Zealand in the first match of the three-test series at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium on Thursday.
Kohli's decision at the start of India's 500th test match leaves New Zealand with the unenviable prospect of batting in the fourth innings on a track expected to assist the slow bowlers from as early as the opening day.
Realising and respecting the conditions, the tourists picked three spinners -- Craig Mark, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi -- in their starting lineup.
The test marks the beginning of a long home season for India and Kohli was determined to kick it off in style after a recent series victory in the Caribbean.
"The start has been good in West Indies. Our preparation has been really good and the intensity is really high," he said at the toss which took place on a humid and overcast morning.
For India, Lokesh Rahul was preferred to Shikhar Dhawan as an opening batsman, while leg-spinner Amit Mishra was omitted.
India: Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Mark Craig, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Kanpur; Editing by John O'Brien)