The fickle English weather played spoilsport in a game promising high quality contest as day four of the inaugural World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand was washed out due to rain.
The reserve day on Wednesday is now going to be used all but certainly. A maximum of 196 overs can be played in the game to force a result. The trophy will be shared if the game is drawn.
For the second time in the one-off clash, a whole day was lost after no play was possible also on the opening day.
With the weather not improving since morning at the Hampshire Bowl, the umpires took the call almost four hours and 30 minutes after the scheduled start time of 10.30 am local time (3 pm IST).
The fans who were patiently waiting for the play to start had to leave disappointed.
“We thank our fans who turned up and kept the tempo high. See you again, tomorrow,” the BCCI added in a tweet.
Rain is not forecast for the remaining two days of the big final but it is likely to remain overcast as it has been the case so far when play did take place. When it wasn’t the rain, bad light stopped play on both day two and day three.
An absorbing day of high-quality cricket on Sunday, cut short by bad light despite the use of the Hampshire Bowl’s floodlights, ended with New Zealand 101-2 in reply to India’s first innings 217 – a deficit of 116 runs.
New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson took an impressive 5-31 in 22 overs – the towering paceman’s fifth five-wicket haul in just eight career Tests.
Blackcaps opener Devon Conway fell for 54 two balls before the close.
It was his third score of over fifty in just five Test innings following the 29-year-old South Africa-born left-hander’s stunning 200 on his debut against England at Lord’s this month.
India, as New Zealand had done after winning the toss, bowled well in helpful conditions with fast bowler Ishant Sharma having figures of 1-19 in 12 overs at Sunday’s close and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin 1-20 in 12.
This match, the culmination of the inaugural World Test Championship that has spanned two years of series between the leading Test nations, is worth $1.6 million to the winners and $800,000 to the runners-up.
Weather has played havoc with the first ever World Test Championship final and former cricketers including Kevin Pietersen has questioned the scheduling of the game in the UK.
“It pains me to say it, but a ONE OFF & incredibly important cricket game should NOT be played in the UK,” tweeted the former England batsman, who wants these kind of games to be played in the UAE with minimal chance of weather intervention.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag was also among the ones who questioned ICC’s decision to host the final in Southampton.
With AFP and PTI inputs