On Friday, the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final 2021 will be commencing between India and New Zealand at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. Team India will be seen back in action while eyeing to win the championship as they have been on a roll in Test cricket lately with series wins over Australia and England in the last six months. Their bowling attack is arguably the best in the business, with Jasprit Bumrah at the helm.
On the batting front, the onus will be on captain Virat Kohli, who hasn’t scored an international century in over a year, to set the record straight in the summit clash. However, it isn’t going to be easy against New Zealand. The Kiwis head into the final on the back of a stunning win over England, despite missing crucial cogs like Kane Williamson and Kyle Jamieson. All eyes will be on the pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, given their recent success in Test cricket.
The last time the two sides met in the Test arena, New Zealand has annihilated the Indians, courtesy of a fast-bowling masterclass. But with India improving and backing their strengths, and an even contest can be expected in Southampton. Although rain is expected to have a say, a riveting contest is in store as both teams look to become the first-ever winners of the World Test Championship.
India announced their playing XI on the eve of the much-awaited game. Although they like to play with a sixth batting option in overseas Tests, Ravindra Jadeja’s batting evolution and Ashwin’s recent performances have meant he has pipped Hanuma Vihari to that spot, also providing a spinning option while at it. R Ashwin will play as the frontline spinner with India opting for a three-man pace attack.
Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Chesteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah
Barring any late injuries, New Zealand’s top seven are predictable. Colin de Grandhomme won the election battle with Daryl Mitchell, who was left out of the 15-member squad and will bat at seven as he did during the first Test against England at Lord’s while Devon Conway’s brilliant performance on his Test debut against England will see him open alongside Tom Latham. However, the Kiwis will have to make is whether to pick four quicks or three and the spin of Ajaz Patel.
Probable XI: Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner/Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult
Fantasy Suggestion #1
Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ravindra Jadeja, Kyle Jamieson, Ishant Sharma, Mohd Shami, and Trent Boult (vc)
Fantasy Suggestion #2
Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Devon Conway (vc), R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah (c), Mohd Shami, Trent Boult, and Tim Southee