Blackcaps v India: NZ's Neil Wagner braced for backlash in second test

Neil Wagner is back with the Blackcaps and ready to go for Saturday's second test against India in Christchurch.

Wagner appears certain to return to the starting XI, after he missed the series opener to remain home for the birth of his daughter.

His trademark effort and experience will be welcome for the team, as they brace themselves for a backlash from the No.1-ranked test team in the world.

Wagner is just as happy to be back, although he admits missing the first-test demolition of the world's best team was tough to swallow. 

"I just had my phone on Sky Go in the hospital constantly," Wagner said. "Watching the boys and supporting from afar."

Wagner and his wife at the birth of their daughter.
Wagner and his wife at the birth of their daughter. Photo credit: Instagram/@neilwagner

Wagner is a near certain inclusion in the Blackcaps eleven for Hagley Oval. His return would come at the expense of Kyle Jamieson, whose 4/39 shored up the side's pace bowling stocks.

"We do know we've got that depth, and players can come in and be able to do what they've done. 

"A massive plus is way the Tim [Southee] and Trent [Boult] have gone about it, which has allowed [Jamieson] to come in and do what he's done."

With Wagner returning, and Boult and Southee set to open the bowling, the Blackcaps would have to drop spinner Ajaz Patel to make way for Jamieson in a four-pronged seam attack.

That's something bowling coach Shane Jurgensen hinted was unlikely, given the importance of Wagner's aggression.

"We're expecting them to fight back," said Jurgsensen. "They're a very good cricket team, so for us, it's about making little adjustments and I'm sure they'll make their adjustments. 

Thankfully, meeting fire with fire is a situation tailormade for Wagner.

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