Ageas Bowl (Southampton), (Asian independent) With less than two days of play possible in the rain-ravaged inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final here, absorbing cricket, let alone a positive outcome, looks hard to achieve.
But a little innovation on the part of the two captains could potentially render the proceedings interesting.
At 101 for two at the start of play on the fifth day, New Zealand could go for the runs, but not bat more than 45 overs. That assumes they don’t collapse and are therefore not bowled out.
India bat for the rest of the day, or also for about 45 overs, and continue at the crease for a further 30 overs on the 6th and final day on Wednesday; thereby setting the Black Caps an inviting, but not easy target of around 300 runs to win in 60 overs or a challenge proposition of scoring at five runs an over.
That presupposes India don’t get dismissed and the wicket at the juncture of declaration is not too batting friendly. This shouldn’t be the case, regardless of the fact that only a little more than 140 overs of wear and tear in the pitch has taken place.
(Senior cricket writer Ashis Ray is a broadcaster and author of the book ‘Cricket World Cup: The Indian Challenge’)