|Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s LIVE coverage of the World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.|
FOLLOW: LIVE SOUTHAMPTON WEATHER UPDATES
|Last Update from venue (2:15PM) – Toss has been delayed and there will be no play in the opening session on day one|
04:31PM: A good 30 minutes away from a fresh update. Meanwhile, you can catch the Indian women in Whites in action at Bristol here:
04:26PM: The broadcasters have confirmed that a next update from the venue is scheduled at 5:30PM (IST). Is there a glimmer of hope for a start?
04:00PM: Ominious signs persist at Southampton. Nasser Hussain added that it’s still soaking wet on the outfield at the Hampshire Bowl and the forecast for the rest of the day does not look good either. It’s a quick drying surface but the rain continues to pour down and even the super-soppers have had their fill.
03:44PM: TOP PERFORMERS IN WTC
Ajinkya Rahane: 1,095 runs (matches: 17 matches; highest score: 115, average: 47.25; hundreds: 3; fifties: 6)
Rohit Sharma: 1,030 runs (matches: 11; highest score: 212; average: 64.49; hundreds: 4; fifties: 2)
Virat Kohli: 877 runs (matches: 14; highest score 254*; average: 43.85; hundreds: 2; fifties: 5)
Ravichandran Ashwin: 67 wickets (matches: 13; best bowling in an innings: 7/71; average: 20.88; five-wicket hauls: 4)
Ishant Sharma: 36 wickets (matches: 11, best bowling in an innings: 5/22; average: 17.36, five-wicket hauls: 3)
Mohammed Shami: 36 wickets (matches: 10, best bowling in an innings: 5/35; average: 19.77, five-wicket hauls: 1)
Kane Williamson: 817 runs (matches: 9; highest score: 251; average: 58.35; hundreds: 3; fifties: 1)
Tom Latham: 680 runs (matches: 11: highest score: 154; average: 40; hundreds: 1; fifties: 5)
Tim Southee: 51 wickets (matches: 10; best bowling in an innings: 5/32; average: 20.66; five-wicket hauls: 3)
Kyle Jamieson: 36 wickets (matches: 6, best bowling in an innings: 6/48; average: 13.27; five-wicket hauls: 4; 10-wicket matches: 1)
Trent Boult: 34 wickets (matches: 6, best bowling in an innings: 4/28; average: 29.29)
03:20PM: ROAD TO THE FINAL
India’s World Test Championship cycle involved three overseas tours (the West Indies, New Zealand and Australia) and three series at home against South Africa, Bangladesh and England. Interestingly, India’s only series loss came on its tour to New Zealand.
From left: Virat kohli, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Rishabh Pant after the series win over England. – SPORTZPICS
West Indies v India – India won 2-0
India v South Africa – India won 3-0
India v Bangladesh – India won 2-0
New Zealand v India – India lost 0-2
Australia v India – India won 2-1
India v England – India won 3-1
Kane Williamson’s men played five series in the World Test Championship and got off to a low start in their away tours to Sri Lanka and Australia. The Kiwis bounced at home with successive wins over India, the West Indies and Pakistan.
A jubilant New Zealand side after beating England by eight wickets in the second and final Test match at Edgbaston. – AFP
Sri Lanka v New Zealand – Series drawn 1-1
Australia v New Zealand – New Zealand lost 0-3
New Zealand v India – New Zealand won 2-0
New Zealand v West Indies – New Zealand won 2-0
New Zealand v Pakistan – New Zealand won 2-0
03:00PM: India – New Zealand: Key Numbers
Stats Courtesy: Opta
Sigh. Under a warmer sky, the inaugural WTC final would have geared up for the crucial Toss at this moment. But as the rain continues to delay the start and the players have been restrained to the dressing-room, let’s have another look at the key numbers ahead of the clash.
02:15PM: UPDATE – The toss has been delayed and there will be no play in the opening session on day one
Toss at Ageas Bowl for the India-New Zealand World Test Championship final has been delayed with the first session washed out due to persistent rain. – Action Images via Reuters
02:00PM: Match officials are on the field for an inspection as a drizzle continues to hover over Hampshire Bowl at the moment.
Good morning from Southampton. We are just over an hour away from the scheduled start of play but It continues to drizzle here. The match officials are on the field now. #WTC21 pic.twitter.com/Kl77pJIJLo
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 18, 2021
01:30PM: No positive signs yet, but let’s carry on with our prep work with some early sighters and numbers from the India-New Zealand clashes over the years.
Head to Head in ICC events: New Zealand 10, India 3
World Cups: India 3, New Zealand 5
Champions Trophy – India 0, New Zealand 1
T20 World Cup – India 0, New Zealand 2
World Test Championship -India 0, New Zealand 2 (in Feb 2020)
The last time India won an ICC event match against the Kiwis was in the 2003 World Cup at Centurion on 14 March 2003
Courtesy: Mohandas Menon
01:15PM: It’s around 8:15am in Southampton and the weather forecast at the moment cites 90 per cent chances of rain. Sad enough, that’s going to stay very much the same through the day.
Friday, Southampton chances of rain
|Chances of rain||80%||90%||90%||80%|
1:08PM: Not the scenes you’d want to see in terms of build-up to the final….
THIS IS IT. The rejuvenation project of Test cricket will close its first chapter this week with two deserved nations slogging it out in the finale at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.
The world’s top ranked Test teams, No.1 New Zealand and No.2 India, will be all set to give it their all in a bid to etch their names in history while clocking a befitting finish to a journey over the last decade.
Team India’s journey under Virat Kohli since late 2014 will bear its ultimate fear if they cross the finishing line after losing out on several ICC tournaments over the course of eight years in agonising demeanour. And the feeling will be strongly shared by the opposition camp as Williamson’s New Zealand – tagged the eternal underdog – have fought out of its skin to emerge as a world beater.
Both sides have carved out a pool of fast-bowlers that can spit fire under favourable conditions at the Hampshire Bowl. India, having taken the step to announce its XI a day ahead of the match, is fielding all five of its premier bowlers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah set to crank up the pace while Ashwin and Jadeja providing extra cover. It’s a point of interest that the five will be playing together for the first time in a Test for India.
The Kiwis have kept the voices down on their combination for the game, but the pacers in the mix are sure to give some serious heat for the Indian batsmen. Tim Southee and Trent Boult lead the pack while a warrior in Neil Wagner could pose a serious challenge. Throw in the near seven-footed monster Kyle Jamieson and there is a whole new set of problems for the Indian top-order.
The final could, however, lose its sheen given the prevailing conditions in a frosty Southampton. With rain forecast on all five days, the summit clash could most likely witness reduced action. Could a reserve provide foil? We will get to know more as the skies and the day unfold.
WHAT THEY SAID
Virat Kohli: “It wasn’t supposed to be a topsy-turvy ride (to the WTC final). When you’re sitting at home and the rules change suddenly, you get confused. We didn’t choose to miss any matches in this WTC cycle. In our minds, we had already qualified way before things got complicated. Looking back, whatever happened was for the best. If we had qualified earlier, maybe we would have relaxed a little bit. The situation we faced made us more hungry and determined. We used it as fuel and motivation to move forward.
Kane Williamson: “There’s been a lot of growth over a period of time with so many challenges along the way every day but the team has bought into it and tried to move past those with a good attitude. There is a lot of hard work done over a long period of time to find ourselves here in the first final (of WTC). It’s exciting but for us it’s just focusing on continuing that growth and trying to keep committing to the parts of our game that give us the best chance and that’s where I know the guys will be focusing on. We are trying to look at the long game and try and improve all the time.”
India Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young.
|The World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand will be shown on Star Sports and streamed live on Hotstar.|