SOUTHAMPTON: Rain washed out an entire day’s play for the second time in the World Test Championship (WTC) final on Monday, diminishing hopes of a result in the India v New Zealand contest.

Only 141.1 overs have been bowled in the match so far at the Rose Bowl as the inclement Southampton weather continued to bedevil the inaugural edition of Test cricket’s pinnacle event.

Sunday’s absorbing day of high-quality cricket ended with New Zealand 101-2 in reply to India’s first innings 217 — a deficit of 116 runs.

Given a standard men’s Test lasts a maximum of five days, this match would usually be destined for a draw.

The provision of a reserve day on Wednesday, however, offers the hope that one team will be able to claim a winners’ cheque worth $1.6 million, with the runners-up receiving $800,000.

But that is still no guarantee a two-year process to crown Test cricket’s first official world champion will end with an outright winner.

The International Cricket Council confirmed Monday the final would be extended into Wednesday if the match had not been completed by close of play on Tuesday’s fifth day.

But the global governing body stressed the aim of using the reserve day was to do with making up the overs lost in the game, rather than trying to force a result.

The ICC added a decision would be taken by the match officials 60 minutes before the scheduled close of play on day five.

Tickets have now gone on sale to spectators who had paid to attend the washed-out first and fourth days, with fans who missed out in the initial ballot able to buy tickets from Tuesday.

Overnight and early morning rain meant the pitch and square at Hampshire’s headquarters remained fully covered when the match should have resumed at 10:30 am local time (0930 GMT).

Play was finally abandoned for the day at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT), with Friday’s first day having suffered a similar fate.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021

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