All the stats, analysis and colour from the title bout of the inaugural World Test Championship
New Zealand stick India in
Kane Williamson has won the toss, and asked India to bat first. He has won 19 tosses in Test cricket, and chosen to field in 14 of them. Many of them are because New Zealand is a bowl-first country and the pitches there just keep getting better and better.
This decision, though, is down to the conditions created by the rain and the weather forecast. There is early moisture to be exploited, and the cool weather means the pitch won’t deteriorate as much as it usually does in Tests, which actually makes batting first the right choice most of the times. The last spot in their side goes to Colin de Grandhomme so they are going in with no spinner.
India, on the other hand, are sticking with two spinners. Virat Kohli says their spinners are of such high quality they can use a damp surface too. As R Ashwin showed at MCG late last year when he took important wickets in the first session. So they didn’t feel any need to change the XI they had named.
By the way, India, too, would have bowled first had they won the toss.
Here are the teams
India 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt.)*, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand 1 Tom Latham, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson (capt.), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult
‘Pleasurable for bowlers’
The pitch report is in. Simon Doull and Sunil Gavaskar see the grass and call it a “pleasurable” surface for the bowlers. There is grass, there are the overheads. And this Test might not get all five days in. So a real case for bowl first.
India’s coach Ravi Shastri has confirmed India won’t change the XI they had named. Had it rained even today, they might have thought along those lines, but there is enough depth, skill and variation, he says, for a proper Test match.
It is on time
The outfield is ready and fit. Toss in 25 minutes. The pitch looks a lot less green than it did, but then again there will be moisture retained and overcast conditions. I don’t know, I would just like to lose the toss if you ask me.
There will be cricket
Hey, you, yes you over at the weather websites and port terminals webcams. You can stop looking there for a while. The weather is dry till late afternoon, and we will get cricket. Will it be on time? We will let you know soon
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo