ICC WTC Final, IND vs NZ Pitch: Virat Kohli-led Team India will be greeted with a Southampton pitch that will have pace, carry and bounce on the first three days of their ICC World Test Championship Final against Kane Williamson’s New Zealand, beginning June 18. However, the Rose Bowl wicket will offer turn on the last two days, helping Ravichandran Ashwin & Co.
Pitch curator Simon Lee revealed that he has prepared Rose bowl wicket to have pace, carry and bounce. With the weather forecast offering a faint chance of rain during the ICC WTC Final, the conditions will suit seamers. Hence, Virat Kohli might be tempted to go with four pacers option.
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ICC WTC Final, IND vs NZ Pitch: “For me personally I just want to get something out that has some pace, bounce and carry in the pitch. It can be a hard thing to do in England as the weather doesn’t help us most of the time, but the forecast in the build-up is good with a lot of sun, so we are hopeful that we’ll get some pace and a hard pitch without over-rolling it and killing it,” Lee told ESPNCricinfo.
“Pace just makes red-ball cricket exciting, I’m a cricket fan and I want to produce a pitch where the cricket lovers have to watch every ball in case they miss something, be that some class batting or an amazing spell of bowling. A maiden over can be quite exciting if it’s a battle of skill between both bowler and batter. So, yeah, if we can get some pace and bounce in the pitch, but not too one-sided towards seam movement, we’ll be happy,” he added.
However, if it doesn’t rain in the next four days and the wicket dries up, Virat Kohli might go with two spinners as there will be some turn for Ravichandran Ashwin to exploit. Considering New Zealand have a number of left-handers including in-form Devon Conway, it would be an exciting contest to watch.
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ICC WTC Final, IND vs NZ Pitch: In the past, the Rose Bowl pitch has assisted spinners to some extent. In the last Test match at the venue between England and Pakistan, pacers ruled the roost but when quality spinners played, they dominated. In 2018 when England took on India, off-spinner Moeen Ali returned with 9 wickets from the match. Ravichandran Ashwin too scalped three.
“The forecast is looking okay, the pitches dry out very quickly here as we do have some sand mixed into our cricket loam, which helped it hold together when the pitches were re-laid some 10 years ago, but it can help it spin as well,” Lee said.
“To get to that point we’ll need the seamers to bowl, some runs scored, and make some rough along the way. The pitch will always get talked about a lot, but you need the players to play their part to make a good game,” the curator added.
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ICC WTC Final, IND vs NZ Pitch: The Rose Bowl, Southampton, England
First Test: England vs Sri Lanka, 2011
Last Test: England vs Pakistan, 2020
Highest 1st Innings Total: 583/8 decl, England against Pakistan, 2020
Lowest 1st Innings Total: 184, Sri Lanka against England, 2011
Highest 2nd Innings Total: 377/8 decl, England against Sri Lanka, 2011
Lowest 2nd Innings Total: 178, India against England, 2014
Most Runs: Zack Crawley – 406
Highest score: Zack Crawley – 267
Most Wickets: James Anderson (England), 26 in 11 innings
Best bowling in an innings: Jason Holder (West Indies), 6/42