After a two-year period, the ‘Ultimate Test’ between India and New Zealand has come down to a potential one-innings shootout (almost) on June 23, Wednesday, which was set as the Reserve Day earlier by the ICC to recover the lost time during the regular five days.
The first and the fourth days of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final at The Ageas Bowl were washed out completely due to persistent rain. Hence the game moves into an additional day.
The weather? Well, an extremely pleasing news for the fans – and for the two teams as well if they intend to go for the win – is that the sun will be out and shining brightly, as it did for the most part of Day 5 after an hourly delay at the start. There is no prediction for rain or thunderstorms. The temperature will be around 20 degrees Celsius, while the cloud cover will be, thankfully, low at 24%.
For the Reserve Day, according to the ICC, a maximum of 98 overs – 83 overs plus the last hour (a minimum of 15 overs) – could be bowled. Also, if play is suspended for any reason other than normal intervals prior to the start of the final hour, then playing time shall be extended by the total time lost, up to the amount of extra time available.
New Zealand noses ahead going into the Reserve Day
Going into the last Day of this WTC Final, New Zealand have a clear map in front of them: bowl India out, chase the target. There would be no other thoughts going on in Kane Williamson and his team’s minds.
On the other hand, India, who now have a slender lead of 32 runs but have lost both openers, will be in the double mind of batting cautiously lest suffer a collapse, and bat aggressively at the same time to put up a sizeable total which should be out of reach of the Kiwis, but not bat for too long so as to avoid giving their bowlers enough overs to bowl out New Zealand.
New Zealand will take cues from Day 5 proceeding as they, too, started the day with a couple of wickets down and were bowled out, courtesy of some inspiring bowling from Mohammed Shami, by the second session.