All the stats, analysis and color from the title bout of the inaugural World Test Championship
But not sure if it will be on time
I might have tempted fate there. It is drizzling, and the hover cover is on. Not sure if it will delay the start, but just so you know.
There will be cricket
There has been some really annoying hot takes about this WTC final because it has been raining and we might end up with a draw. I am not going to be shrill and will only address only the reasonable criticisms and that too not directly. What the ICC has tried to do is preserve the essence of Test cricket as it has been for nearly 40 years now, which is five days’ worth of cricket, but it has added a reserve day to make up for weather. You can’t really expect them to play a timeless Test because it takes away time as a factor in the way the teams approach it.
Nor did the ICC know that Covid-19 would free up the schedules enough for people to now ask for a timeless Test. In normal circumstances, India would be finishing this tour and hurrying off to Sri Lanka for the limited-overs series. It owes it to member boards who owe it to broadcasters to make available the biggest stars. So this timeless Test thing is not sustainable nor true to Tests as we know it today.
A best-of-three series is a good idea, but, again, is it sustainable? You won’t always have teams free for a series whose broadcast money will go to ICC. And I am hoping against it, but WTC finals will not continue to be this full of interest.
What the ICC could have perhaps done was, and this is reasonable, is to keep adding a reserve day if we haven’t had five days’ worth of cricket and haven’t reached a result. So the basic idea is play until one of the tow happens: an outright result or five days’ worth of cricket.
That said, we still have a macimum of 196 overs left in this Test. The forecast is good. And looking at how difficult the pitch is, it is silly to rule out a result. You don’t always need 40 wickets for a result. India went from 146 for 3 to 216 all out. So 101 for 2 is not quit dominant ahead for New Zealand. India have a way back in this. And if New Zealand are to force a result, we could even see it in 18 more wickets.
So with positive thoughts in mind, I welcome you to the Live Report of the fifth day of the WTC final. Half an hour to go to the start. If there is a delay, I promise you you will hear it first.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo