Southampton, June 19: After a complete wash out on the first day, the hopes of WTC Final between India and New Zealand starting on the second day on Saturday (June 19) as rain has so far stayed away from the Ageas Bowl.
Bundles of dark clouds hovered over the venue at Southampton, giving us the worries that rain may pour down at some point but the sight of an uncovered pitch gave the fans a few strands of hope. But all went well as of now as toss was on time with Kiwis winning it and opting to bowl first, quite expectedly.
The NZ went with four seamers in Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson and fifth bowler is Colin de Grandhomme. Ajaz Patel was benched. They bowled well towards the end to take 2 wickets as India went to lunch at 69/2 after Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill gave a good start to India.
The BCCI has also tweeted the picture of uncovered pitch with smattering of grass and a brownish surface. Players and support staff from both India and New Zealand were also seen catching up with each other after spending an entire day indoors due to incessant rain.
India had already announced their Playing 11 while New Zealand had withheld it till the toss, perhaps to have a last-minute look at the conditions and the pitch. India stayed true to their maxim of fielding their best possible 11 irrespective of the conditions, taking such external factors out of equation as captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shatri would like to profess.
It meant that India went into the WTC Final with two spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and they also will share batting duty down the order as India omitted middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari. Will they make some changes to the 11 during the toss, and we will have to wait and see.
The conditions in Southampton, a city south of England, remained chilly and overcast with the city temperature hardly touching 15 degree Celsius. It also means that the bowling side will get some assistance on the day despite the 22-yard surface looking brown in colour.
India under Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson led New Zealand are looking to win the WTC Final and cap a two-year long run that saw some consistent Test cricket.
India playing 11: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
New Zealand playing 11: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.