Updated: June 22, 2021 11:07:28 am
The eagerly-awaited opening day of the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand was rained out here on Friday, which is set to bring the reserve day into the equation.
As per ICC playing conditions guidelines for the WTC final, if required the reserve sixth day can now come into effect with six hours of play lost on Day 1 itself.
There was forecast of rain and thundershowers and the heavens opened up last evening with relentless downpour continuing till afternoon.
With puddles forming throughout the outfield, even the best drainage system couldn’t have possibly forced some action on the opening day.
While there has been talk about Southampton being the preferred venue, it has been learnt that BCCI was taken into confidence by both the ICC and England and Wales Cricket Board before they finalised the venue which also has a five-star facility within the premises, helping create a tight bio-secure bubble.
The English weather is known to be fickle and in any case, there was no guarantee that the match being played at any other venue would have not led to a wash-out on the first day.
In the last five years, England has hosted 32 men’s Test matches and only as many as four have ended in draws which is an indication that even if rain plays spoilsport, the final will go the distance.
Fans anticipating a hassle-free World Test Championship final without rain interruptions should prepare for an extra day of play on reserve day unless bowlers wreak havoc at Rose Bowl,
Southampton. The weather forecast shows thunderstorms, morning showers, passing showers on all days of play which will make it tough for groundsmen to keep the ground dry.
As per the weather forecast from accuweather.com, it is more likely to rain on June 19, June 20, and June 22 than on the other two days. But, the weather will not be sunny throughout the day’s play on June 18 and June 21 either. Even on the reserve day, rain is expected to interrupt play.
Former England cricketer Monty Panesar also shared a screenshot of the weather forecast for the duration of the WTC final.
— Monty Panesar (@MontyPanesar) June 14, 2021
Thankfully, the reserve day will come into play if the time lost on five days could not be covered by additional time on other days to make up for it. The reserve day will have a maximum of 330 minutes or 83 overs with an additional last hour if needed. Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli can also agree for a draw after the end of Day 5’s play if a result is unlikely to reserve day. In the event of a draw, the trophy will be shared by both teams.
The bad weather in Southampton starts from June 17 which means both the teams are unlikely to have an outdoor practice session.
The cloudy conditions will also have an impact on the team selection of both teams. While former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar want both spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin to play, the team management may be inclined to play an extra seamer to take advantage of the conditions. The decision to play an extra seamer can also be the result of pitch curator Simon Lee preparing a track that will have pace and bounce.
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