India v NZ WTC Final: Day 1 Called Off Due to Rain
Day 1 of the WTC Final between India and New Zealand has been washed out due to rain.
A final decision has been made by the umpires and it isn't one the players or the fans wanted as play has officially been called off on Day 1 of the World Test Championship final in Southampton.
However, there is one little consolation as there is still scope of a five-day test with ICC having made provisions for a ‘Reserve Day’ on the sixth day of the Test, if rain were to disrupt play.
Overnight rains and regular showers on Friday first delayed the toss and then the first session of play was called off. However, at about 7:15pm IST, the umpires made the final decision to not have any play today.
A Sixth ‘Reserve’ Day
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.
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.
India vs New Zealand - A Look Back
India had played Kiwis in the WTC cycle, losing 2-0 in an away series last year. The Kiwis pace bowlers turned out to be unplayable as they ran through India's batting order.
Unlike the Kiwis, who beat England 1-0 in a two-Test series this month, India are devoid of any match practice at the venue and will head into a game of magnitude without any competitive match practice.
Ahead of the WTC final, there has been talk about how New Zealand's pace bowlers could again trouble the Indians. The New Zealand pace bowlers are seasoned and are aware of weaknesses in Indian batting. The Dukes cricket ball, which moves more than the Kookaburra, and throughout the day in England, will give them advantage against an India team that has not played any warm-up.
The two teams have played 59 Test matches with India winning 21 and losing 12. But 16 of those wins have come at home, in 34 Tests. In New Zealand, India have lost 10 and won only five of the 25 Tests they have played.
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