6.10pm Play has been called off. Back tomorrow for the usual 10.30am start, with, of course, play extended by half an hour to try and get in a possible 98 overs.
And yes, it’s been a frustrating end to the day, but do remember that we’ve had 64.4 overs of utterly engrossing cricket, with two of the best teams in the world yielding not an inch. Do remember also that we still have four more days in which it’s entirely possible we’ll have enough time and overs in which to move this Test match towards a cracking conclusion.
Anyway, until tomorrow, it’s goodbye from all of us.
6.05pm We have news that there’s no official news yet.
5.55pm The umpires are walking off the field. Not sure what that means just yet. Tom Latham and Trent Boult are chatting with them now, next to their dressing-room door.
Satish Subraman: “Well if the pupils of people on the stadium gets adjusted, wouldn’t it be the same with players?” — The spectators don’t have to face Test-quality fast bowling, which, if you need reminding, consists of a hard projectile being hurled at speeds of upwards of 130kph.
Tushar Pabbi: “@karthik then we already know who is gonna win that toss :p”
Vishal Pal: “Longitudinally dissect it?….Still better than how 50 over WC was decided.”
Naveen: “@Karthik Nah, they’ll make a latitudinal dissection. Longitudinal is too old-fashioned.” — That would leave one team with the handle and the other handle-less. That wouldn’t be fair.
5.41pm The umpires are out in the middle, having a look at conditions.
Rohit: “If this Test ends in a draw, will New Zealand collect the mace too?” — Yup, the ICC will get experts to dissect it longitudinally and the teams will toss to determine who gets which half.
Ankur Sonwane: “Pretty strartling to see that rules are coming under scrutiny in the finals only. Boundary count in the ODI Final and Bad light rules in this final.” — The bad light rules will be talked about a lot, no doubt, but there’s nothing wrong with how they are. You can’t expect players to go out in dangerous light conditions just because spectators are growing restless. The umpires are experts at their job, and they wouldn’t be pulling players off unless they felt it was necessary.
5.35pm It’s gone absolutely dark in Southampton, and the pitch and square are fully under covers. Can’t see play resuming today, but we’ll wait for official word on that.
Anil: “You play two years for it and just ending up with a draw due to weather. Is it acceptable???” — Still a lot of time left in this game, but even if that were to happen, yes, it’s acceptable. Test cricket is like life, and life can be endlessly frustrating.
Baz: “I’m sat in the Shane Warne stand – not sure about your statement about it being absolutely dark is true…! Looks exactly the same brightness as it has most of today!” — Ha! I was reporting on what I thought it looked like on TV. Plus, your pupils might have adjusted to dwindling light so gradually that you didn’t realise it’s dwindling.
Proudfoot: “I don’t understand how conditions are supposed to suit one team over another. A team that is topping the charts in THE World Test Championship is supposed to play in any condition without whinging about it. And by the way India are going about their business, we can clearly see the beauty of Test cricket in their determination and application. Why would you want to trade that for a game in Indian conditions where they already are invincible?”
“There is nothing that tells me play will resume,” says Nagraj, who’s at the Rose/Hampshire/Ageas Bowl. “Fourth umpire is hanging by the covers still.”
Verma: “Kane and Kohli can rather play a Test match in EA Cricket 07 to decide the winner. I’m fine with them choosing the ground as Southampton in it. ICC will still ask them to choose the conditions option as ‘Rainy’ though”.
Anirudh: “DJ, I dont think India would have bowled first despite Kohli saying so. They picked 2 spinners in the team hoping to boss. the 4th innings with them. NZ also hasn’t done that well in England prior to the latest series against a depleted opponent. What ICC should really do is ensure that No finalist can schedule a series just before the Final in the country.”
5.15pm Meanwhile, Sneh Rana’s moved past 50 and moved India Women closer to safety in Bristol.
DJ: “In its current state the best team in the wtc cycle gets no advantage over the 2nd best team. Add nuetral venue to that and it becomes a bit of a lottary. These conditions are clearly more suitable to NZ that India. And they have lost toss as well which makes it worst. Ideally the best team of the cycle should get some advantage like hosting the game or getting to chose what they want to do in 1st innings instead of the toss.”
Manav: “Switched watching Germany vs Portugal and Weather is so perfect in Munich – they should have moved WTC final there.” — The future of “neutral” venues.
Sunny: “Who would you give the upper hand to at this point in time?” — India have batted really well to give up only three wickets so far, but they’ve still not gotten enough on the board to say they’re in an advantageous position. Anything could still happen from here, especially with the depth of New Zealand’s attack allowing them to keep coming back at the batters with no loss in quality/intensity.
Neev: “In midst of all the discussions, the thing that goes bit unnoticed is Watling’s Wicket-keeping today. So much swing, many leaves made, and New Zealand haven’t still conceded any byes!”
Sanj from Ottaw: “Being new to the cricket, if they can night games with flood lights, why can’t they play day games with flood lights when the sky is gloomy like today” — They had the floodlights on for most of the day anyway, but even with floodlights, there’s a level of light below which it isn’t easy to sight the red ball.
5.05pm Thanks, Alan, and hello again to everyone else. The New Zealand players are gathered around the edge of the boundary, but no chance of a resumption anytime soon, with the hover-cover going back onto the field. I can see a droplet of what I assume is rain on the camera lens.
Andrew Miller says it isn’t raining just yet, but it’s imminent.
Theoretically, play can go on until 6pm today, with an extra half-hour added on to make up overs. But if we don’t get back on the field by 6, that’s it for the day’s play.
Ganesh Pathare: “This is a very way of playing this game. It’s WTC championship at the stake. Kiwis chose 5 seamers and no spinner because they wanted to exploit the riches of the pitch. So they had upper hand there. India have until now played that 5 seamers part very well on ground while utilising the tactical downside of the one sided attack in bad light. Had there been a spinner or two in NZ attack the game still would have been on.” — I’m not sure any team would pick a spinner just to be able to bowl when the light goes bad. That would mean they don’t have confidence in the spinner in the normal course of events, or they don’t think there’s enough help in the pitch for that spinner.
Trace: “Hey could you guys turn the sun up a bit. I’m pretty sure the controls to that are in your offices. Or in Gough’s other pocket.”
5pm: The umpires are still out there, no sign yet of rain arriving. Meanwhile, over in Bristol, India Women are scrapping towards safety in the Test. To see how much more play we get today, I’ll hand over to Karthik again. Have fun
Here’s Abhishek: “Indian batters application and grit goes to show that even in the era of T20 cricket and non-stop cricket. If given proper time to train and acclimatise, test batters can hold their own against HQ bowling in helpful conditions. They are elite athletes for a reason after all. I hope I don’t jinx it. On that note, as more and more teams are moving to the model of having different batters for tests vs LOI i believe test batting will improve further.” Tests and T20 cricket are practically different sports these days
4.55pm: Gough walks over from square leg with the light meter, to the despair of the crowd. Kohli is already tucking his bat under his arm… Another bad light hold-up, though the NZ players are in no hurry to get off the field. Up by the India dressing room, Kohli is squinting away animatedly, suggesting the light had become a problem. We’ll just have to sit tight once again