The inaugural edition of the World Test Championship (WTC) Final has begun in Southampton between India and New Zealand. After a washout on the first day of the Test match, the weather has improved and has allowed the second day’s play to start on time.
Virat Kohli’s poor fortune with the toss continued as Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to field first. While India had announced their playing XI two days earlier, New Zealand announced it today, right at the toss. They went with an all-seam attack, leaving out Ajaz Patel. It meant Colin de Grandhomme played the role of the fifth bowler, after Boult, Southee, Wagner and Jamieson.
Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill started well, negating the swing by standing a couple of steps outside the crease. There was just one hiccup at the start when Gill had called for a quick single, but Rohit wasn’t ready and despite that hesitation with Gill halfway down the crease , he made the ground back in time. The duo then took on the bad balls from Boult and Southee and made them pay.
In the first 10 overs, India were 37 and skipper Williamson brought their trump card Kyle Jamieson into the attack. However, he faced the class of young Shubman Gill, who hit him for a four on just the second ball. Following this, India played a bit cautiously and played out the next three overs without scoring any runs and completed the first hour safely.
Kyle Jamieson was soon rewarded for his tight bowling as he sent Rohit Sharma packing. Rohit did nothing wrong though, just hanged his bat outside the off stump, the ball, shaped lovely by Jamieson, took his outside edge and Tim Southee took a lovely catch in the slips, diving forward.
The ploy to bring Neil Wagner into the attack worked for Kane Williamson as Shubman Gill edged one straight to BJ Watling. Wagner had bowled this on a good length and the ball didn’t come back in and held its line instead and Gill was completely tricked.
India’s rock Cheteshwar Pujara started like he usually does, playing out overs, however, he got off to the mark with a four. Pujara’s brief stay on the crease came to an end as Trent Boult trapped him plumb in front. Boult came in from over the wicket, pitched it right up, nipping in and Pujara completely misjudged the line and just failed to get a bat on it.
Post that, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli settled in, but the scoring rate was reduced, which was probably the right way to bat on this tricky pitch in front of world-class bowlers. There was a halt in play as the light wasn’t enough to carry on playing and thus, early Tea was taken.
Kohli resumed the final session with a bit of a hesitation as he was looking to score runs off Tim Southee and was getting beaten on the outside edge continuously. However, he calmed his nerves in the next over and started playing cautiously till the game was again halted due to bad light.
Here are the best tweets:
Watching Virat Kohli & Ajinkya Rahane survive a spell with a Dukes ball in very English conditions from Tim Southee just makes you wish for more neutral Tests #WTCFinal
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) June 19, 2021
The most difficult: this hide and seek, now on, now off kind of situation. No batsman wants to be caught in a crossroads with fading light. At this critical stage India can’t risk with Virat and Rahane #WTCFinal #INDvsNZ
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) June 19, 2021
Rahane’s job here is to bat like a human being, in order to emphasise quite how well Kohli’s playing against the same (world class) bowling
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) June 19, 2021
Cheteshwar Pujara since 2019
Runs :- 1019
Ajinkya Rahane since 2019
Innings :- 30
Acc. to stats Rahane has performed far better than Pujara since 2019 . But people will criticize only Rahane & no one will talk abt pujji.
— Nitin 💫 (@NitinShMs) June 19, 2021
Virat Kohli’s cover drive has a separate fan base 😍 #INDvNZ
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) June 19, 2021
Between 2011 and 2020, no Indian opening pair lasted 20+ overs in a Test innings outside Asia.
Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma have done it three times in five innings this year. (Twice at SCG and Today in Southampton) #INDvNZ
— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) June 19, 2021
“We connected on different levels, we connected on a lot of things off cricket, in life, how we look at things, the larger reason for everything.”
— ICC (@ICC) June 19, 2021
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) June 19, 2021
— Shivraj Talekar 🇮🇳 (@ShivrajTalekar) June 19, 2021
U know What?
Don’t u know the climatic conditions of this periodic tym in England
U done it in 2019
U repeated it this tym too
U just can’t do this for most awaited and hungry fans.#INDvNZ #WTCFinal2021 #ICCWorldTestChampionship #WTC2021 #IndiaVsNewZealand
— 🇮🇳 తెలుగబ్బాయి 🇮🇳 (@Uttej4U) June 19, 2021
— CA. Radhe Digga (@digga_radhe) June 19, 2021
So frustrating for the viewers to see the frequent bad light interruptions when things are evenly poised out there. These interruptions can affect the rhythm and mental state of the batsmen who have been battling out against a quality bowling line up. #WTC21 #WTCFinal #INDvNZ
— Rajarshi Dasgupta (@rajarshi_15) June 19, 2021