|Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s LIVE coverage of Day 2 of the World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand. This is Lalith Kalidas bringing you all the updates as action unfurls at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.|
12:47pm: Promising signs indeed as we have our first visuals from the venue. The covers are off and the groundsmen have had a hard toil on the outfield.
For all the careful build-up to the ICC’s brainchild initiative to revive the purest format, the finale was off to a dampener in Southampton where the Ageas Bowl had its fill of water on Friday. Rampant rains marred the fields and hopes of an exhilarating start to the final and with the reserve day thankfully in place, we gear up for a positive start today with sunshine beaming through the ground early morning.
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.
Sportstar correspondents Shayan Acharya, Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya and Ayan Acharya discuss their star players and big match-ups in the #WTCFinal.
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 the rain forecast set ahead of us for the remaining days, the summit clash could most likely witness reduced action. Could the reserve provide foil? We will get to know more as the skies and the day unfold.
Day 2 – Ageas Bowl chances of rain
|Chances of rain||10%||10%||10%||30%|
WHAT THEY SAID
R. Sridhar, India fielding coach: “The XI that was announced (previously) is a team that takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation. They can perform in any given weather conditions. Having said that, the toss is not yet over, so a decision on the final XI will be taken at the time of the toss if needed.”
Tom Latham, New Zealand vice-captain: “When you start on day one, it’s about trying to start well, and obviously results flow on from the first innings and second innings. From our point of view, it’s about trying to go out there and execute our skills as best as possible and have everyone in a position to push the game forward, then we obviously will…”
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.|