The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday evening announced India's Playing XI for the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand in Southampton.
India's spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja make the bowling attack. Here's the Virat Kohli-led side that will take the field against Kane Williamson's men at The Rose Bowl on Friday:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Speaking on the eve of the Test, India skipper played down the significance of the World Test Championship final, saying they are looking at six Test matches and not just one on the tour of England.
"We are not looking at one Test match that begins tomorrow. We are looking at all the six Test matches that we have to play in England...We have a process to strive for," said Kohli. After the WTC final that runs from June 18 to 22, India play five Tests against England in August-September.
Here's a look at a few key match-ups:
Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult
Sharma has played only one Test in England and experts say he has a weakness against the moving ball, especially one that comes in from a left-arm seamer. Former Pakistan pace bowler Mohammed Amir exploited it during the 2017 Champions Trophy final and even before too. Former India batsman has asked the India opener to be careful against Boult.
Virat Kohli vs Kyle Jamieson
The tall New Zealand pace bowler turned down his Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Kohli's request of bowling to him at nets with a Dukes ball that he was carrying with him during the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). But Kohli would have faced him in the IPL nets with a white and got some idea. The steep bounce could be hot to handle.
Ross Taylor vs R Ashwin/ R Jadeja
Taylor, who average of 33.83 against India is almost 12 runs below his career average of 45.76, has been dismissed 54 times by a spinner out of 164 times. But his average of 44.55 against the slow bowlers is higher than his average of 33.28 against pace bowlers. Part of the reason is that on wickets outside India, the spinners don't get much purchase. How Ashwin and Jadeja bowl to the New Zealand No. 4 will be key. Taylor, 37, has fallen to right-arm spin 30 times and left-arm spin 24 times.
Devon Conway vs Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand's South African import became only the sixth batsman to score a debut ton at Lord's and the first to score a double on Test debut at Lord's was the Man-of-the-Series in the recent two-Test series against England. He is known to play the ball late. But how he reads pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah's quick-arm action will be interesting. Bumrah's natural delivery goes away from him and he may have to be watchful.
Kane Williamson vs Ishant Sharma/Mohammed Shami
New Zealand captain Williamson has a poor record in England (an average of 26.1 as against a career average of 53.6) and Ishant Sharma, on his fourth tour of England and having experience of county cricket with Sussex which gave his career a fresh lease, will be targeting his knee roll to get the leg-before wicket decision. The Kiwi, however, has a tight defence and a battle of attrition may ensue. Williamson could also face the challenge of deliveries of landing on seam from Mohammed Shami.
The winners of the much-awaited WTC final between India and New Zealand will take home a purse of USD 1.6 million along with the ICC Test Championship Mace. The losing team will get USD 800,000 for finishing second in the nine-team competition, which was played over a near two-year cycle, adding context to Test cricket and to crown the first official world champions in the longest format of the game.
With IANS, ANI Inputs