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New Zealand names unchanged team for 1st India test

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand - New Zealand has retained the lineup that beat the West Indies in consecutive tests in December for the first of two cricket tests against India starting Thursday at Eden Park.

Captain Brendon McCullum said the pitch at Eden Park seemed likely to suit fast bowlers but New Zealand had resisted the temptation to name a fourth seamer ahead of India-born leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

"There's always that temptation (to play a fourth seamer)," McCullum said. "But it's a tough ask on your No.3 batter (Kane Williamson) to go in as your first spinner.

"Also Ish has done a pretty good job as a wrist spinner. Even if the pitch doesn't offer a great deal of spin, he should be able to get something out of it."

New Zealand's bowling lineup includes seamers Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. Boult and Southee were outstanding throughout the West Indies series.

"It's got a decent covering of grass, albeit funny looking grass at one end," McCulum said. "It looks hard as well so we can expect a bit more bounce that what there was against England (last year, in a drawn test.

"Hopefully, there's a bit of pace as well. I don't expect a huge amount of sideways movement but there may be just be enough."

New Zealand will go into the tests with its confidence high after beating India 4-0 in the five match one-day series.

India was yet to name its team but reported all 17 members of the squad were fit and available.

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New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

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