India stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bat in the opening test against New Zealand on Thursday in a battle between two spin-heavy squads at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium.

Batter Shreyas Iyer makes his test debut for the hosts, who picked three spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja.

Regular India captain Virat Kohli has skipped the opening test, while several other senior players have been rested from the two-match series to manage their workload.

"Yes, a few guys are missing, senior players are missing, but that brings an opportunity for all the youngsters," Rahane said at the toss.

"New Zealand is a quality team, they proved themselves all over the world. We respect them."

The sides last met in June when New Zealand triumphed in the World Test Championship final.

Touring captain Kane Williamson said he too would have liked to bat first but his team would try to exploit the early conditions with the ball.

"We've got the ball on hand first up, so important we try and make a few breakthroughs early if we can and apply our plans as good as we can," Williamson said.

All-rounder Rachin Ravindra makes his test debut, completing New Zealand's three-pronged spin attack with Ajaz Patel and Will Sommerville.


India: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (wicketkeeper), Rachin Ravindra, Kyle Jamieson, Will Sommerville, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel