India vs New Zealand, WTC final: Williamson elects to field
India and New Zealand are locking horns in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final at The Rose Bowl, Southampton. Kane Williamson has won the toss and elected to field in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter. The two sides are raring to go for the ultimate Test after faring well in the championship cycle. Here are further details.
India's Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah NZ's Playing XI: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wicket-keeper), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult
The surface at the Ageas Bowl usually offers assistance to fast bowlers. In the three Tests at this venue last year, the front-line spinners took just six wickets between them. As per the forecast, rain could be a spoilsport throughout the match. The match is being telecast live on the Star Sports Network. It can also be streamed on the Hotstar app (paid subscription).
The ICC had earlier announced the playing conditions for the WTC final. Notably, the two teams will be declared joint-winners in case of a draw, or a tie. A Reserve Day has been kept to make up for any lost time during the regular days.
New Zealand were the first side to qualify for the World Test Championship final after the postponement of Australia-SA series. They finished at number two with 420 points, having claimed seven wins from 11 Tests (lost four). Meanwhile, India topped the WTC table with most points (520). They won 12 out of 17 matches during the cycle (lost four and drawn one).
Kohli now has most Test appearances by an Indian captain (61). He was earlier tied with former Indian captain MS Dhoni (60). Williamson requires 44 runs to become NZ's second-highest run-scorer in Tests. Jadeja needs 46 runs to complete the double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets (Tests), a feat previously achieved by only four Indians (Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, and Ashwin).