The ICC World Test Championship Final is just a day away and there is nothing else on the minds of cricket fans all over the world.
India is set to lock horns with New Zealand at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton and it will be interesting to see how two of the best captains in Test Cricket currently scheme their side.
Who do you think will win the finals? Who will lay their hands on the ICC Test Mace? Who will be the top scorer in the match? Who will trouble every batsman he bowls? Just a day more and we'll start getting our answers.
India played their last test match against England in March 2021 as they beat the English 3-1 in the series. The majority of the Indians were busy in the Indian Premier League but the tournament was postponed midway due to a sudden spike of COVID-19 cases within the bio-bubbles of the players and the management staff of some franchises.
Since then the Indians haven't been in a competitive game, while New Zealand have played a Test series in England just for days before the ICC World Test Championship Final. In the two-match series, New Zealand won the series, clinching the second test comfortably. Does it give the Kiwis an advantage, technically it does but will India shy away from expressing themselves?
Certainly not. It is a final and there can be no room for excuses. Virat Kohli and co would hope that they plan enough for the game and make sure that all difficulties are dealt with by the squad together.
Last 5 matches:
(in Test matches)
India: W, L, W, W, W
New Zealand: W, W, W, D, W
New Zealand's record in the away series is not the best. They have won just two out of their last 15 away tests. On the contrary, India comes into the test with an Iconic test series triumph against Australia.
In moments of tremendous pressure, they will have to hold their nerves as they did against Australia after losing the first test in a very disappointing fashion. Also, Indians have shown better adaptability to pressure and hopefully, this game can be another example of that. The Kiwi will have to take their chances.
The weather is not expected to vary much. The test is most likely to go on uninterrupted, with the possibility of rains just on the second or the third day. Otherwise, the sky is anticipated to remain clear.
After the groundsman came out very openly about the pitch being made more suited for fast bowlers, there is no doubt we'll see anything different.
However, as the match proceeds, we may see cracks developing, and thus, spinners' influence in the game would increase.
Both teams would be exulted as there are no injuries as things stand. Both teams have talent galore and it will be interesting to see the players who get to impact the game directly.
As far as the head-to-head is concerned, Matches played- 59, India- 21, NZ-12, Draw- 26. Any idea which team has been dominant in their last five meetings? Click here to go through a detailed analysis of India and New Zealand's last five meetings.
Expected Playing XI
Predicting the game outcome is a challenge. An enthralling contest is anticipated and every fan would hope that it doesn't turn out to be a one-sided game. Both teams are in form, both teams look balanced but it's the Indian side who seem to have an edge, considering the players they have in each department.
Williamson and co. will have to ensure that they start well as Indians still keep the World Cup semi-final loss very close to their heart. They have the added intent to get the trophy home. Hopefully, the better team will win!
Cricwizz predicts India to win the ICC World Test Championship Final.
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