It’s grim news coming out of Southampton as play has been called for the day owing to poor light. Bad visibility had hampered proceedings time and again in the last hour or so and the umpires have had enough of it.
India have done well to resurrect their innings after New Zealand dealt three crushing blows in the form of Rohit, Gill and Pujara. The scoreboard reads 146/3 with Kohli and Rahane unbeaten at the crease for 44 and 29 respectively.
NZ Send Rohit, Gill, Pujara Back in The Hut
New Zealand backed up their captain’s decision to field first against India in the World Test Championship final in Southampton with three telling strikes within the first half of the day.
India lost openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in the morning session, before Trent Boult got the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara soon after lunch. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane kept NZ’s bowlers at bay after that up until Tea, but weren’t able to score quickly. India went into the second break with the score at 120/3.
Both teams were asked to take an early Tea break due to bad light thanks to some dark rain clouds. After the break, Kohli and Rahane added 14 runs quickly and were beaten by swing too, as had been the trend through the day before bad light forced play to stop again.
Rahane and Kohli Hold Steady
After the first three batters on the scorecard failed to have much of an impact, India’s captain and vice-captain, Kohli and Rahane, had their task cut out.
Trent Boult was on fire and Kyle Jamieson along with Neil Wagner were asking plenty of questions. Both batters however dug deep as the dark clouds started to build, close to Tea.
Neither Kohli or Rahane were particularly comfortable in the middle and seemed quite relieved when the umpires decided to call Tea early due to bad light. Kohli was batting on 35 with Rahane on 13.
Kohli Survives a Close Call
A few deliveries after the wicket of Pujara, the Indian team survived a scare with Kohli.
Trent Boult had him feeling for it outside the leg-stump and almost found the edge through to the keeper. A review however saved the day for India and Kohli. The Indian captain was on 17 with Ajinkya Rahane for company.
Pujara Gets Going After 35 Deliveries
India’s number 3, Cheteshwar Pujara, who is more than happy to bat time used his patient approach to keep the NZ bowlers at bay.
Pujara played 35 dots before getting off the mark with a crisp boundary through the point region of Neil Wagner.
Wagner bowled short of length with width, Pujara went right back and played an excellent shot behind point and it raced away. Loud roar from the crowd.
Soon after though, Pujara took a sharp knock to his head from Wagner but only needed a change of helmet.
Pujara though could not kick on and was trapped LBW by Boult for 8 after 54 deliveries.
Gill Walks Back for Breezy 28
The indefatigable Neil Wagner accounts for Shubman Gill. Enticed into the poke outside the off-stump, the young lad obliges and BJ Watling makes no mistake behind the sticks.
The pillars of Indian batting, Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli have a rebuilding job on their hands.
Jamieson Breaks the Half-Century Stand
Kyle Jamieson provides the breakthrough for New Zealand. Rohit Sharma hangs his bat out to dry and offers a thick edge to Tim Southee, who dives splendidly to his left and latches on to the sharp chance. India one down as sheet anchor Cheteswar Pujara makes his way to the middle.
NZ Review Bears No Fruit
New Zealand opt for a review after Colin de Grandhomme raps Rohit Sharma on the pad but there’s a heft of wood on that one. The Kiwis have burned their first review.
Ouch! Gill Bumped On The Helmet
Shubman Gill’s ploy to shimmy down the track and meet the ball early has backfired as he cops a nasty blow on the helmet. The physios are out on the pitch and have cleared the youngster to continue following the mandatory concussion protocols.
In other news, relatively pleasant, India have zoomed past 50 for no loss.
Gill, Rohit Hit The Ground Running
India clearly the happier camp going into the first drinks break. It has been an excellent start with their openers having survived the first hour without any hint of alarm.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have looked rock-solid so far against the new ball, barring a few anxious moments. Soft hands in defence and judgement outside the off-stump have been the shields in front of pace spearheads Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who’ve not been at their disciplined best.
Jamieson was welcomed into the attack by a beautiful straight drive from Gill while Rohit has helped himself to three crisp boundaries as well. The runs have begun to flow.
NZ Invite India to Bat in Overcast Conditions
After the first day of the World Test championship final was washed out on Day 1, India and New Zealand have been welcomed for the second day with overcast conditions.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and asked India to bat first in Southampton. NZ have decided to stick to an all pace attack with four out and out seamers with Colin de Grandhomme as the all-rounder. This is also BJ Watling’s last game for New Zealand as well.
This is Virat Kohli’s sixth consecutive toss lost in England in Test cricket. Kohli said that India would have bowled first as well going by the conditions.
India have opened their innings with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill and are also wearing black armbands to honour the demise of Milkha Singh.
India Picked 2 Spinners in XI
On the eve of the match, Virat Kohli announced his playing XI electing to play both his spinners - Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami complete the bowling attack, with not much surprises in the batting department.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will bat at No. 6 and has been picked ahead of Wriddhiman Saha while Rohit Sharma will open with Shubman Gill.
India XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma.
New Zealand XI: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult
The weather is among the biggest worries for both sides, fans and the ICC as there is rain expected on all the days, including the reserve day after the fifth day.
Last month, the ICC had released the ‘Conditions of Play’ manual for the WTC final and in it, reminded of the provision of a sixth ‘Reserve Day’.
‘The Match shall be of five days scheduled duration, with a Reserve Day available in order to make up Lost Playing Time,’ said the manual’s clause 13.6.1.
The ICC’s press release also mentioned, ‘The Reserve Day has been scheduled to ensure five full days of play, and it will only be used if lost playing time cannot be recovered through the normal provisions of making up lost time each day. There will be no additional day’s play if a positive result is not achieved after five full days of play and the match will be declared a draw in such a scenario’.
On how the Reserve Day is to be utilised, the manual says, ‘If no result is achieved on the 5th day, then the Reserve Day shall consist of Lost Playing Time less any time utilised in accordance with paragraphs 5 or 6, capped at a maximum of 330 minutes, plus the Actual Last Hour.’
In case the match still ends in a draw or a tie, both teams will be crowned as joint winners.
. Read more on Cricket by The Quint.WTC Final: Kohli, Rahane Unbeaten as Bad Light Forces Early StumpsWTC Final, Day 1: Kohli Holds Fort After NZ Get Rid Of Top Three . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.