02.25 pm: Hello all and welcome to the live coverage of day two (day one?) of the ICC World Test Championship Final. Hopefully today’s blog is more than just memes and jokes about rain in England. Hopefully, we get to see the two best Test teams in the world take on each other. Hopefully, the rain stays away long enough.
The inaugural World Test Championship final suffered a setback at the outset after persistent rain meant there was no play at all between India and New Zealand on Friday’s opening day at Southampton.
Heavy overnight and early morning rain meant the pitch and square at the Hampshire Bowl remained fully covered. Several more downpours hit the ground and it was no surprise when the umpires abandoned play for the day at 2:48 pm (1348 GMT).
While a standard Test lasts a maximum of five days, this fixture can be extended into a sixth day should match referee Chris Broad decide that it is the only way to make-up time lost in the game to bad weather. But former England batsman Broad won’t be called on to make such a decision until the fifth day as the match could be over before then in any event.
This fixture, worth $1.6 million to the winners and $800,000 to the runners-up, represents the culmination of a two-year programme of series to crown a champion team in men’s Test cricket, with India and New Zealand topping the qualifying table.
India named their team on Thursday, with the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami as well as spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja all included in the same Test XI for the first time.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, recovered from an elbow injury that saw him miss the Blackcaps’ series-clinching win over England at Edgbaston last week, said he would delay announcing his side until the toss.
India too could yet change their side, as teams don’t have to be confirmed until the toss takes place but fielding coach R Sridhar said it is unlikely.
(With AFP inputs)