Day one of World Test Championship final abandoned due to relentless rain

Day one of the World Test Championship final was a washout (PA Wire)
16:11pm, Fri 18 Jun 2021
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Day one of the inaugural World Test Championship final was abandoned without a ball bowled as both India and New Zealand were beaten by the weather in Southampton.

After two years of qualifying and many more of planning, the showpiece event got off to the quietest possible start, as relentless rain hammered the Ageas Bowl.

The morning session was quickly wiped out and while a small proportion of the limited 4,000 crowd hung around in the hope of seeing some action as the day progressed, there was never any realistic hope of play.

The inevitable decision was made by umpires Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth at 2.48pm, with the players set to reconvene on Saturday morning.

A reserve day has been built into the planning of the event but a decision on whether or not to activate the extra time will be made later in the match depending on how much additional time is lost.

The option to play on until Wednesday was welcomed by New Zealand’s vice-captain Tom Latham, who is hopeful of the game reaching a natural conclusion thanks to the expanded window.

“Obviously the rain is disappointing, but there is a day six so there is a little bit of extra time we can use there,” he said.

“Looking at the weather at the moment, that was a great decision. With the extra day we’ve got up our sleeve, the game can still go the full five days. For us it’s just about waiting, and then when we get the opportunity to come on, making sure we’re ready to go.

“With the amount of water that has fallen since yesterday afternoon, there probably wasn’t a huge chance that we were going to play today…there’s been a lot of table tennis, a lot of darts being played up in the team room, so the guys are pretty relaxed an we’ll have to give another shot tomorrow.”

India opted to name their team the on Thursday, leaving Hanuma Vihari and Mohammed Siraj out, and all the signs are that they will not back out and make changes at the toss.

Fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar said: “I think the XI which has been announced is an XI which takes the pitch and the conditions out of the equation.

“I think it is an XI which can play and perform on any given surface in any given weather conditions.”

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