Hello and welcome to Sportstar's 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 in Southampton.
The inevitable has happened. After multiple deliberations, play has been called off due to bad light. India finish on 146/3 with Kohli unbeaten on 44 and Rahane on 29. That kind of day in Southampton, rains stayed away but bad light became a major issue as the day progressed. New Zealand quicks, after a lacklustre start with the ball, found their radar. With the Dukes ball swinging in the air and moving off the pitch, the four frontline quicks and De Grandhomme kept the Indian batsmen on their toes. Kohli was once again imperious in tough conditions. Back tomorrow for a 10.30 am (local time) start. The play will be extended by half an hour to get in a possible 98 overs. That would be all from our side. Thanks for joining us. Good night.
10:26pm: Umpires are having a brief chat with the Williamson and Southee at the moment.
10:11pm: Umpires in the middle and assessing the conditions once again. " Situation grim", says VVS Laxman
10:00pm: Well, the covers are staying on. And there's no positive visual which suggests a quick restart.
09:36pm: Ominous signs as the groundsmen have now brought on the covers to the centre.
Another bad light stoppage as Kohli and Rahane walk off, followed by the Kiwis. The umpires have formed a union at pitch-side and wait for a resumption soon.
We need to get more used to this folks, the umpires have stopped play once again.
141/3 in 63 overs: Two louds shouts in the over! Boult steams in to beat Kohli's bat, but hits a tad outside the leg stump. Rahane is on the firing line next as Boult ends with a loud appeal as the ball once again crashes into the pads but misses the stumps by a whisker once again.
Boult is back and replaces Jamieson
IND 138/3 in 60 overs: Rahane brings up the 50-run partnership with a fine swivel pull! Southee drops it short and the lack of pace gives Rahane enough time to shift his weight on the backfoot and guide it through mid-wicket.
IND 134/3 in 59 overs: Jamieson completes his two deliveries with a loud thud onto Kohli's pads. Great to see how the Dukes ball still rolls around so much at nearly 60 overs old.
Jamieson returns with the ball
08:55pm: Rahane and Kohli walk out behind the Kiwi fielders.
UPDATE: We are back in action. The covers are off and Kohli is all geared up to resume his innings.
As we wait for resumption, here's a read from Sunil Gavaskar himself: Gavaskar questions lack of full covering on England grounds after day one wash-out
Ah! Not again. Bad light stops play. To make it worse, we have the covers on as a precaution. The weather forecast isn't too promising either.
IND 134/3 in 58 overs: Absolute class from Southee! That's some control right there as Southee beats Kohli's edge twice - with a gentle outswinger and one that angles in sharply first-up. An out-swinging yorker forces Kohli to rotate strike. Southee then challenges Rahane with another set of sharp deliveries that beats the outside edge. Rahane finishes another over on a high as he waits late on the outswinger and connects. The ball zips past the gully fielder and into the boundary.
IND 129/3 in 56 overs: Eventful over this! Wagner finds the outside edge off Kohli's blade but it falls short of first-slip, tantalising! He then Rahane wound up with a bumper that has Rahane hook with no control. No fielder at short fine leg and that has kept Rahane to give the perfect reply. A smoking hot drive adorns the cover region as Rahane finishes the over in style.
Wagner on from the opposite end
IND 120/3 in 55 overs: A brief shout for a caught-behind of the final ball of the over Southee sends one down Rahane's wrists down leg and the slip cordon goes up in appeal but umpire Gough is unmoved.
And in a flash, we are back on! Southee up and ready to complete his over.
The umpires have assessed the light again and it seems like we will continue to have a slight delay. The umpires have a brief chat with both the skippers and the situation is worse than the visuals we have at the moment.
IND 120/3 in 55.3 overs: The umpires have decided to stop play for bad light . Loud jeers from the crowd as the players walk off. We do not expect a loss of overs as the umpires have confirmed that EarlyTea has been taken.
AND WE HAVE A SURPRISE STOPPAGE.
IND 112/3 in 53 overs: Best of Ajinkya! Rahane rocks back on and waits for Grandhomme's slower delivery. He cuts it handsomely, right through to point to the fence, much like the technique Rohit employed early on in the day.
CDG is back, replaces Boult
IND 106/3 in 50 overs: Southee peppers some gentle out-swingers and has Kohli on the edge. Kohli continues to lean over and leave the balls outside off-stump with precision. Southee surprises the skipper with a surprise in-swinger and the inside-edge keeps him on the field for the moment.
Southee's back into the attack
IND 100/3 in 47 overs: Perhaps not at the best pace, but India has crossed100 at the expense of its top-order under fairly irregular conditions. Kohli and Rahane certainly hold the key and India will hope the captain and his deputy will set the tone for the lower-order.
IND 95/3 in 46 overs: Jamieson continues to place Rahane in a tough spot. There's some serious swerve behind his deliveries and the Indian vice-captain is just trying to nudge and survive at the moment.
IND 95/3 in 45 overs: Boult's up on pace and continues to fire in the nip-backers to Kohli who has his eyes lit up to push the probing deliveries off line. Kiwis have upped the intensity and we could be in a riveting session here. Jamieson has looked in top gear at the other end as well.
Back in action. Boult to continue.
IND 95/3 in 44 overs: DRINKS have been called on but not before a cracking over from Jamieson. The big lad has got the ball to seam quite a beat and Rahane has his early jitters. Jamieson makes a change in length with a fuller delivery and Rahane falls for the bait. A tentative push has him nearly edge the ball - saved by whiskers as the drinks are on the field for a breather.
IND 91/3 in 41 overs: Boult to Pujara. OUT! LOUD SHOUT AND GONE! Boult gets through Pujara's defense to trap him. No hesitation from the umpire and Pujara has a discussion with his skipper but turns down a review and walks back. Well, well there's a massive breakthrough for the Kiwis. Boult has his tail up. A wide delivery down leg has Kohli pecking for it. A loud shout from Boult but the Kiwis are running out of time. Wait, the umpires are referring upstairs without making a decision. Kohli, seemed to be relieved that NZ failed to review within time but now has a chat about what's going on with the umpire. Anyhow, the third-umpire replay has shown that there's a sea gap between bat and ball and Kohli can now a let out a sigh of relief. Not that he wasn't but the bizarre called from Illingworth had him flummoxed. Dramatic over from Boult on return! Pujara lbw b Boult 8(54) [4s-2]
Boult into the attack
IND 84/2 in 39 overs: Kohli and Pujara begin to rotate strike more freely. Wagner continues to offer width and it's a surprise to see him not the bouncer as much as one would have hoped for.
IND 78/2 in 37 overs: Wagner bumps one into Pujara's helmet. Bang, the protective piece behind goes flying. A short lull before he resumes to bat and it seems like it has rattled Wagner as well. He pushes on some loose deliveries next-up and a jittery Che Pu lets them slide past.
IND 75/2 in 35 overs: Pujara climbs into Wagner once again! What a shot from Che. Wagner goes full and wide once again and Pujara leans into smash a breezy drive through the vacant extra-cover region. Building his base, slow and steady.
IND 74/2 in 33 overs: Puji off the mark after 35 deliveries, and how! Wagner sends in a loosener and Pujara finally decides to break the self-imposed shackles with a cracking cut through point to the boundary.
IND 70/2 in 32 overs: CLOSE SHOUT! Grandhomme nearly scalps the big fish! Another slower delivery dips and swerves away from Kohli to hit the back-pad and onto Watling's gloves. There's a brief appeal from the fielders as Michael Gough nods his head in denial. Williamson's ponders over a review but acts against it. Kohli is visibly amused with that delivery.
IND 69/2 in 30 overs: Williamson employs de Grandhomme rightaway and gets Pujara to pose a dead bat for another string of deliveries. The lack of pace from the Mullet-man could be tricky and Pujara continuous to tread cautiously - a little overboard perhaps as he continues on 0 off 30 deliveries!
IND 69/2 in 29 overs: Maiden to start with for Wagner. A fine in-swinger first-up to Kohli has the Indian skipper force a solid push. Wagner swiftly takes the ball away from Kohli and prompts for a fresh guard outside the crease.
Wagner to resume action with Kohli on strike.
Back for action! In walk Kohli and Pujara as the Kiwis pace in as well. Thick clouds continue to loom over the ground as the floodlights remain lit.
The openers, Rohit and Shubman, were impressive in the first session. India have a relatively positive start here in the final. Rohit and Gill did well to dispel any doubts over their technique against the early swing. It helped that Southee and Boult were largely off-target early on.
While Rohit had his front foot outside the leg-stump to see off Boult's nip-backers, Gill was stepping out of the crease to negate the movement. Rohit, however, fell off the first ball he faced from Jamieson. Neil Wagner then accounted for Gill in his very first over. With Pujara and skipper Kohli at the crease, India will be hoping for another session of dogged work to hold the upper hand in the first innings. The Kiwi spearheads, however, have had a fine head-to-head record against the Indian middle-order . Here's a look at the numbers:
IND 69/2 in 28 overs: And we head to Lunch! Kohli and Pujara see off Southee as the umpires call for a break. India seemed to have the upper-edge for a fair share of the last couple of hours but the fall of the Indian openers mean the session could be regarded even-stevens.
IND 67/2 in 27 overs: Kohli gets the mark in trademark style. Wagner dishes one outside off and Kohli sets down low and strikes a cracking pose with the cover drive to get going. Positive signs for ton #71?
IND 63/2 in 25 overs: Wagner to Gill. OUT! Edged and taken! Wagner deals a massive blow rightaway! A classical out-swinger takes the young opener away with it. Gill pushes at the ball with his body away from his blade. The edge presents a regulation catch to Watling behind the stumps. In walks the skipper, Kohli. Wagner tests him with a couple of nip-backers and Kohli bends down to push them off the line. Shubman Gill c Watling b Wagner 28(64) [4s-3]
Neil Wagner into the attack. The workhorse is on for the first time today!
IND 62/1 in 22 overs: Southee fires in a slew of out-swingers to Gill who leaves them promptly. Meanwhile, Pujara is slowly finding his feet after copping a barrage of in-swingers from Jamieson at the other end.
Southee replaces Grandhomme.
IND 62/1 in 21 overs: Jamieson to Rohit. OUT! Edged and gone! The Kiwis have broken through. Rohit fails to get to the reach, a rare sight today and Southee has capitalised on it with a stunning low catch at third slip. Rohit would be dejected to let go of this chance as all the dogged work is undone in a moment of lazed footwork. Rohit c Southee b Jamieson 34(68) [4s-6]
IND 62/0 in 20 overs: Oozing elegance is Rohit! de Grandhomme fends in a loose, slow delivery outside off and Rohit waits for an eternity before creaming it through the covers off the back-foot once again.
IND 53/0 in 18 overs: 50-run partnership is up for the pair as Rohit waltzes Grandhomme through covers! Class from Rohit as he just swings is arms through the arc for that boundary. Grandhomme then provides a scare for the Hitman as he treads one in. NZ goes for the review as the ball seems to clip the pads. Nope, not happening, folks. Replays a suggest a fine inside-edge and Rohit survives with another late-push onto the ball.
IND 49/0 in 17 overs: OH, SNAP! Jamieson smashes one into Gill's helmet. Gill's ploy to stand way out from the crease against the big man has put him in a spot of bother. Gill recovers quickly but continues to stand out of the crease against Jamieson.
IND 45/0 in 15 overs: Stand and deliver! Jamieson drops shot and Gill absolutely pummels it with a pull once again through the mid-wicket fence. Not the length to test this kid, Jamie!
Into the second hour, Jamieson to continue
IND 41/0 in 14 overs: And we have Drinks. Brilliant start for the Indian openers as they have battled through the early testing phase. Fair to say that the Kiwi bowlers have largely missed the spot. Rohit has done well to compact his footwork and a positive stride to meet the ball has helped profusely. Gill, on the other hand, has stood way out from the crease to see off the swing while providing a steady bat.
Colin de Grandhomme replaces Boult
IND 41/0 in 12 overs: Boult nagging Rohit for a while now. Rohit's assured feet movement has helped him with that extra second to judge the swing and leave the probing deliveries. A testing over and the batsman and bowler have done their bit in attack and defense.
IND 41/0 in 11 overs: Sumptuous drive from Shubman! Jamieson tests Gill with an out-swinger and brings the ball right back in the next delivery. Gill is ready for it with a solid stance and provides a mere push down the ground and the ball races to the boundary. Jamieson's early trial with variations have not worried the young man.
Kyle Jamiseon replaces Southee in the attack
IND 37/0 in 10 overs: Boult nearly has Rohit! Close, really close there. Rohit for once is a little late to plant his leg in front and push the ball. Boult zips it in and a tinge of wood from Rohit has saved him. Huge reprieve for India.
IND 36/0 in 9 overs: Boult and Southee are yet to find their range. The Dukes ball is swinging but both batsmen have been watchful around the off-stump. Gill and Rohit, opening for the first time in England, have been batting outside the crease to negate the movement. Meanwhile, Rohit carves Southee through backward point for four. India motoring along.
IND 29/0 in 8 overs: Good, solid cricket from both openers. Just what you want to see from your batsmen after you have been inserted in bowler friendly conditions. Gill's timing the ball beautifully. Rohit is leaving well and capitalising on the loose balls.
IND 26/0 in 7 overs: A splendid cut off Rohit's blade. Short and wide from Southee again and Rohit is off to in a flash with a compact stroke through to the point boundary. A little bit off luck later on as Southee's fuller delivery is nudged through the slips for another four - streaky but Rohit will take it for now.
IND 16/0 in 6 overs: Gill gets cracking with a spectacular pull through mid-wicket. Boult tests the youngster's verve with a quick bumper and Gill had no hesitations in acing a nonchalant pull off the back-foot.
IND 9/0 in 4 overs: Rohit has ensured that his front-foot is placed outside the leg-stump as Boult steams in. Boult continues to dart it in and Rohit puts up a solid defence in the line of the ball to see off the early danger.
IND 8/0 in 3 overs: Rohit continues with a positive stride against the swinging Dukes. A languid push off Southee's finally delivery through covers fetches him two - a boundary under prettier conditions.
IND 5/0 in 2 overs: Boult nearly jolts through Rohit's defence! Oh, and there's a run-out chance at the other end with Gill. Boult gets the ball to shape into Rohit who is a tad late on bringing his bat down. Gill sets off on a run with the ball falling close to Wagner. Gill scampers and barely makes it home. Boult keeps Rohit on his toes as he rotates with the out-swing and the nip-backer.
Boult up with the ball.
IND 3/0 in 1 over: Rohit gets the final underway with a customary flick off the pads. The ball has a long drive down mid-wicket but a sluggish outfield prevents a boundary. Southee is a tad off radar first-up as a couple of wide deliveries slide down leg to Shubman Gill early on.
Tim Southee up with the new ball. Rohit Sharma on strike.
GAME ON BOYS! 24 hours past scheduled time, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill walk out to bat for India. Williamson leads his troop to the field as well.
02:54pm: The players have lined-up for the national anthems. The Indian team sporting black armbands to mark respect for the legendary Milkha Singh who passed away last night.
02:46pm: A massive test awaits the Indian openers - Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. English conditions have not been favourable enough for this breed over quite some time.
02:33pm: TOSS: New Zealand has won the Toss, elects to Field first
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 Playing 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
02:28pm: Here's the big moment! Indian skipper Virat Kohli walks out to the middle for the Toss and joins Kane Williamson.
02:25pm: Ravi Shastri in his talk to the broadcasters says that it is unlikely for India to change the XI. With a team that can "take the pitch out of the equation" at Kohli's disposal, the head coach says there are options but any tweaks seem out of proportion right now.
PITCH REPORT: Sunil Gavaskar says the pitch still holds a good amount of grass which would be conducive for the seamers. Batsmen will have a tough start and will be key to leave as many balls and cash in on early width offered by the bowlers.
02:15pm: Frosty conditions persist as Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson lead their respective huddles ahead of the Toss.
02:00pm: A couple of Indian batsmen are out and having a brief knocking session. Rahane and Jadeja that is.
01:53pm: What do you reckon, folks? Seems like a fine share of the green has had a chop.
01:50pm: A dicey Toss awaits both sides. With the green tinge lingering over the surface, it would be interesting to see if Kohli or Williamson will go with the historically favoured choice of batting first at the venue. Here are some key numbers from the venue:
01:40pm: Thickish clouds continue to persist over the ground, but we are building up towards a scheduled start at the moment.
01:30pm: An hour away from a realistic Toss . Here's a quick look at the head-to-head stats.
01:13pm: India - New Zealand: Key Numbers
In anticipation of action in another 90 minutes or about, we continue to build-up to the finale.
01:05pm: UPDATE: The pitch has witnessed a facelift with considerable grass being mowed down. Should be a much better surface the batsmen and to dampen our spirits a wee bit, there's a slight drizzle jostling into the Ageas Bowl......
12:57pm: Thick clouds continue to hover over the Bowl, but the field continues to stay dry since last evening. As things stand, we have the Toss in about 90 minutes.
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
WHAT THEY SAID
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.
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