India vs New Zealand: The historic final match will finally begin on the second day after the first day was washed out due to rain.
During the final match of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship between India and New Zealand in Southampton, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has won the toss and chose to field under overcast conditions.
“We’ll bowl first. Conditions, with the weather around, hopefully we can make the most of it. Saying that, wicket will be consistent throughout the game going by the cool weather. Great occasion and great challenge against the best team in the world. First time a WTC final, guys are really excited,” Williamson said during the toss.
New Zealand, who hadn’t disclosed their Playing XI on the eve of the match, will take the field with as many as five pace-bowling options. Fast bowler Matt Henry, who had won the Man of the Match award in their last Test against England, has been left out for the historic final.
The development means that Williamson will have the luxury of four specialist pacers in Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner and an all-rounder in Colin de Granhomme.
Should India have played fourth fast bowler in India vs New Zealand WTC Final?
Much like Williamson, India captain Virat Kohli also wanted to field first as the same would have been an apt decision because of the conditions.
“We would’ve probably bowled first as well. But runs on the board has been our strength. In a big final, runs on the board, however many, are an advantage. As you saw the makeup of our side, the balance is such that we prepare for any conditions.
“We’ve been performing really well in Test cricket. For us this is just a Test match we have to be professional in, have to follow our processes,” Kohli said during the toss.
— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) June 19, 2021
Having announced their Playing XI on Thursday, India had the option of including a fourth fast bowling option in place of either Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja. While another fast bowling option in Umesh Yadav or Mohammed Siraj would’ve bolstered India’s fast bowling attack, it would’ve also sent across a signal of inconsistency in decision-making.
Playing three fast-bowling options as compared to the opposition’s five is most likely to be debated in the days to come (especially if result doesn’t go India’s way) but India have backed their original thought process which speaks highly about their conviction.
It is worth mentioning that the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have it in them to contribute in the batting as well – something which might be needed against New Zealand’s attack under these conditions.