Twitter Reactions: India stave off New Zealand's pacers on a stop-start day in Southampton

India ended the day on 146/3 with Kohli and Rahane holding fort.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

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After a rainy opening day, the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand commenced on the second day. The Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson was lucky to win the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bowl first. They went with an all-pace attack preferring Colin de Grandhomme’s all-round abilities over the left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel.

India, on the other hand, backed the same XI that was announced a couple of days ago. Their openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill strode out to the middle. Many expected for Trent Boult and Tim Southee to make the ball talk in the helpful conditions. But the duo took some time to find their lengths and that worked in India’s favour. To their credit, Rohit and Gill also tackled the conditions well to stitch 62 runs for the opening wicket.

Both the batsmen played some brilliant strokes during their stay in the middle. While Rohit once again showed his elegance, Gill played some sumptuous pull shots to leave the spectators in his awe. Things got so desperate for the Kiwis that they even wasted a review. Finally, it was Kyle Jamieson who successfully found the edge of Rohit’s bat in the 21st over of the innings. Soon Gill followed thanks to Neil Wagner who struck in his very first over.

Suddenly India were under pressure but Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara survived the tricky phase before lunch. In the second session, New Zealand bowled exceptionally well to make sure that no easy runs were scored. The pressure built up and Trent Boult perfectly struck in his second spell to pin Pujara in front of the stumps for 8. From 62/0 at one stage, it seemed they were in a spot of bother at 88/3.

Virat Kohli and Rahane blunt NZ pace attack

The onus was now on Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane who were bluffed by a few wonderful deliveries from the likes of Southee and Boult. But they didn’t deter and in the process, played a few crunching drives as well. Of all, Kohli playing a cover drive to get off the mark earlier in the day was the most talked about shot.

As the second session almost came to a close, bad light kicked in and since then, there were frequent stoppages in play for the same reason. In between, Tim Southee bowled a terrific over to beat both the batsmen but was unlucky not to get an edge. Eventually, India ended the day on 146/3 as play didn’t start after 64.4 overs with Kohli unbeaten on 44 with Rahane supporting him on 29.

Unless weather interrupts this Test, we could be in for a fascinating contest over the next four days at the Ageas Bowl.

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