WTC final: Reserve day could come 
into play in Southampton

Match officials decided to abandon the first day's play after inspecting the playing conditions at Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton on Friday. (ANI)
Match officials decided to abandon the first day's play after inspecting the playing conditions at Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton on Friday. (ANI)

Latham said that the rain washing out the opening day is not a big deal as there is a reserve day in place



By AFP/ANI

Published: Fri 18 Jun 2021, 8:29 PM

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.

The toss should have taken place at 10:00 am local time (0900 GMT), with the match getting under way 30 minutes later, but 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.

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.

Meanwhile, New Zealand opening batsman Tom Latham on Friday said that the rain washing out the opening day is not a big deal as there is a reserve day in place.

“Yeah, I would say it’s disappointing, the rain today. It was forecast, unfortunately, but I guess it’s just one of those things that as cricketers you need to adapt, and unfortunately, that’s something we can’t control. For us it’s just about waiting, and then when we get the opportunity to come on, making sure we’re ready to go, and I guess there is day 6, as well, so there is a little bit of extra time that we can use then,” said Latham.

“I guess looking at the weather that we’ve got out there at the moment, it’s obviously a great decision. Obviously, we can’t control that, so it’s great that there’s the extra day, and hopefully, whatever happens, then there might be a result on that last day. It’s obviously great that we can hopefully get a full match in, and hopefully, the weather clears and both teams will be looking forward to getting out there.”

When asked how the weather will affect team selection for the finals, Latham said: “It probably doesn’t change a huge amount. Obviously, as I said, with the extra day that we’ve got up our sleeve, the game can still go the full five days.”

Talking about the playing XI for the finals, Latham said: “We haven’t confirmed the final 11 yet. Again, we’ll have to wait and see when we get the chance to have a look at the wicket. We’ll have to wait until the canvas come off and we get the chance to play.”

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 captain Virat Kohli, however, questioned whether a one-off game could decide the world’s best Test side by saying Thursday: “If you’re talking about Test cricket and deciding who is the best team in the world on one game over a period of five days, that is not the reality of the truth.”

The star batsman added: “For me, this is another Test match that has to be played.”


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