New Zealand bowl against India in World Test Championship final

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
Bowling first - New Zealand captain Kane Williamson shakes hands with India's Virat Kohli after winning the toss in the World Test Championship final at Southampton on Saturday
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field against India in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton on Saturday.

After rain meant Friday's opening day was washed out without a ball bowled, the sky remained overcast with the Hampshire Bowl's floodlights already on -- conditions that promised to favour New Zealand's impressive seam attack.

"With the conditions, a bit of weather around, hopefully we can make the most of it first up, get a bit of seam movement," Williamson said at the toss.

"We've gone for four frontline seamers and Colin de Grandhomme as our all-rounder, so no spinner," he added.

"It's a great occasion and challenge against the best team in the world. It's great to be here for the first World Test Championship final and the guys are excited."

While India captain Virat Kohli said he too would have fielded had he won the toss, the outstanding run-getter was buoyed by the depth of batting in a side also featuring Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant.

- 'Runs on the board' -

"We would have probably bowled first looking at the conditions but runs on the board has been our strength, we bat deep," Kohli said.

"It's a big final, runs on the board are a bit of an advantage first up.

"The balance of our side is such that we prepare for conditions which might change or vary, our two spinners can bowl in any conditions," he added.

New Zealand made four changes to the side that beat England by eight wickets at Edgbaston last week to complete a 1-0 win in a two-Test series.

Star batsman Williamson was passed fit after missing that match to rest a longstanding elbow injury.

And veteran wicketkeeper BJ Watling, for whom this will be his last match before retirement, returned after missing the Edgbaston match with a sore back.

New Zealand opted against deploying a specialist spinner, with Ajaz Patel dropping out of the team and towering quick Kyle Jamieson recalled.

Matt Henry, despite his six-wicket match haul at Edgbaston, was left out as spearhead quick Tim Southee returned after being rested.

Meanwhile, Colin de Grandhomme was selected in place of fellow all-rounder Daryl Mitchell.

India, who last played a Test in March, stuck by the team they announced on Thursday, with pacemen Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja all included in the same XI for the first time.

While a standard men's Test lasts a maximum of five days, this fixture can be extended into a sixth day should match referee Chris Broad decide that is the only way to make up time lost earlier in the game to bad weather.

This fixture, the culmination of two years of series between the leading Test nations that ended with New Zealand qualifying ahead of India, is worth $1.6 million to the winners and $800,000 to the runners-up.

Teams

India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wkt), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult

Umpires: Michael Gough (ENG), Richard Illingworth (ENG)

TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

jdg/gj