Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav have been called up to India's squad for the Test series against England after Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill and Avesh Khan were ruled out.

All-rounder Sundar misses out due to finger injury on his bowling hand that will take longer than expected to recover from.

Gill suffered a stress fracture of his shin during the World Test Championship final defeat to New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl and the opening batsman has returned to India.

Paceman Khan fractured his thumb during a warm-up game against a County Select XI last week.

Batsmen Shaw and Yadav - uncapped in the longest format - have been drafted in as replacements, while Prasidh Krishna and Arzan Nagwaswalla are on standby.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been reunited with his team-mates after recovering from coronavirus.

The five-match series starts at Trent Bridge next Wednesday.

 

India squad:  Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav.

Ollie Robinson has been recalled for England's first two Tests against India, with Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes also named in the 17-man squad.

Robinson impressed on debut against New Zealand at Lord's in June, taking seven wickets.

But during the match, historic Twitter posts of a racist and sexist nature made by the 27-year-old Sussex seamer emerged and, following an investigation, he was handed an eight-match ban and fined £3,200 for breaking England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) directives.

Five of the eight games were suspended for two years and Robinson served the others while his case was examined.

He comes back into the fold as captain Joe Root heads into the five-match series, which begins at Trent Bridge on August 4, without Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes due to respective elbow and heel injuries.

Bairstow will provide wicketkeeping cover for Jos Buttler – another player to return having missed the New Zealand series following India Premier League commitments, along with all-rounder Sam Curran – and could also push for a place as a specialist batsman given the meagre efforts of England's middle order in the 1-0 loss to the Black Caps.

 

Stokes played through the pain in the recent ODI series win over Pakistan, returning ahead of schedule from a broken finger to captain a scratch team after a COVID-19 forced all of the initially selected squad into isolation.

James Bracey drops out after two consecutive ducks and a tough examination with the gloves on his maiden venture in the longest format, and there is no place for Dawid Malan.

Haseeb Hameed will again provide an alternative to out-of-form number three Zak Crawley, although Bairstow also filled that slot away from home earlier this year. Following some promising contributions in Sri Lanka he registered three noughts in four outings against India.

All of the England players allocated to franchises in the new Hundred competition will play in the first two matches before joining up with the Test squad.

Bairstow's mooted return to the Test setup brought thinly veiled irritation on Tuesday from Welsh Fire head coach Gary Kirsten, who was hoping to have the Yorkshireman available for the majority of the campaign.

Speaking to talkSPORT, former South Africa opener Kirsten said: "We're hearing that Jonny Bairstow, who we've designated as our captain, is now suddenly becoming a Test cricketer again. So we could have him for maybe one or two games"

 

England squad: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood

England batsman Ollie Pope faces a battle to be fit for the start of the India Test series after suffering a thigh injury.

Pope damaged a muscle in his left thigh while batting for Surrey in a Vitality Blast match against Kent Spitfires last week.

He is a doubt for the first game of the series against Virat Kohli's side at Trent Bridge on August 4.

The England and Wales Cricket Board stated: "England batsman Ollie Pope has been ruled out until England's Test Series against India after suffering a left thigh muscle injury.

"Pope sustained the injury while batting during Surrey’s Vitality Blast match against Kent Spitfires on Friday 2 July.

"The ECB and Surrey fitness teams will work together to deliver Pope’s rehabilitation with a focus for him to be available to return for the first Test against India."

It is another unfortunate setback for Pope, who underwent shoulder surgery after dislocating his shoulder in a Test against Pakistan last August – the second time he had suffered that injury.

New Zealand claimed victory in the World Test Championship final as they chased down a fourth-innings target of 139 with eight wickets to spare at the Ageas Bowl.

Captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor combined in an unbroken 96-run stand as the Black Caps, so often the bridesmaids through the years, became the inaugural winners of the tournament in the final hour of play.

Rain had threatened to spoil the showpiece fixture in Southampton, but the addition by the International Cricket Council of a reserve day allowed for an absorbing conclusion to proceedings.

India had resumed in the morning on 64-2, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli at the crease looking to build on a precarious 32-run lead.

However, both overnight batsmen fell early in proceedings to the impressive Kyle Jamieson, Kohli caught behind for 13 before Pujara (15) fell soon after, leaving the score at 72-4 as New Zealand struck two huge blows.

It would have been even better had Tim Southee held onto a chance from Rishabh Pant when he was on just five, Jamieson the unfortunate bowler. The left-hander went on to top score with 41, a crucial knock in the circumstances.

Trent Boult dismissed Pant – caught superbly by Henry Nicholls having skied the ball high into the air – as he finished with figures of 3-39, also seeing off Ajinkya Rahane (15) and Ravindra Jadeja (16).

There were also two late wickets for Southee – who ended up with 4-48 in the innings – as India slipped from 142-5 to 170 all out.

Ravichandran Ashwin gave India a glimmer of hope when he removed both New Zealand openers, Tom Latham the first to go when stumped for nine before Devon Conway was trapped lbw having contributed 19.

Yet Williamson and Taylor, who finished 52 and 47 not out respectively, did not panic when coming together at 44-2, slowly building a partnership that would blossom with the finishing line in sight.

 

Standing tall on the biggest stage

Jamieson has been a revelation for the Black Caps in Test cricket. He finished with stunning match figures of 7-61 from 46 overs, of which 22 were maidens.

In total, 83 per cent of his deliveries were pitched outside off stump, the highest rate of any bowler for New Zealand. The plan worked too, as six of his seven wickets came from balls landing in that area.

Middling returns from big names

No Indian player managed to post a half-century. Pujara, Kohli and Rahane were crucial in helping their team qualify for the final, but their low returns in the game continued a recent trend.

Since the beginning of 2019, the trio have registered a combined total of six Test centuries. In the two years prior to that, however, they had 18 hundreds between them in the longest format.

The World Test Championship final remains delicately poised after India ended the penultimate day at the Ageas Bowl on 64-2, giving them a slender lead of 32 runs.

After Monday's play was washed out at a sodden Southampton, New Zealand finally moved on from 101-2 to post 249 in their first innings, captain Kane Williamson pointing the way with 49.

There were also useful runs from the lower order – Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee contributed 21 and 30 respectively – as the Black Caps managed to overhaul India's total of 217.

Trailing by 32 as they came out to bat for a second time, India lost opener Shubman Gill, trapped lbw by Southee for eight, before they had erased the deficit in the final session.

Rohit Sharma also fell to the same bowler for 30 in the closing stages of proceedings, leaving Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to see their side to the close. They will resume on 12 and eight respectively.

New Zealand will hope to make early inroads on the sixth and final day, which was added by the International Cricket Council as a provision for time being lost to bad weather.

Mohammed Shami helped restrict New Zealand's advantage with 4-76, including dismissing BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme as the Kiwis slipped to 162-6.

Yet the resolute Williamson remained, producing a crucial 177-ball knock that included six fours. His vigil finally came to an end when he was well caught by opposite number Kohli at a wide third slip off Ishant Sharma when one shy of a half-century.

Spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja wrapped up the innings, though New Zealand's wagging tail means they appear the more likely winners on Wednesday.


Go-slow approach sees Kane able to move up

During his battling knock, Williamson surpassed Stephen Fleming (7,172) to become New Zealand's second highest run-scorer in Test cricket on 7,178, only behind current team-mate Ross Taylor (7,517) on the list. The latter reached a personal milestone while making 11, bringing up 18,000 international runs across all formats.

Shami shines with leather but still comes up short

Despite Kohli giving him every opportunity, Shami was unable to register his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests. The pace bowler produced a beauty to dismiss Watling, bowling the wicketkeeper for just one as India sensed the opportunity to seize a first-innings lead.

Keshav Maharaj claimed a sensational hat-trick as South Africa sealed a 2-0 Test series whitewash of West Indies with a 158-run victory on day four.

The Proteas secured their first series victory away from home in the longest format since 2017 on Monday, bowling the Windies out for 165 at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Set 324 to salvage a 1-1 draw, West Indies collapsed on the penultimate day in St. Lucia following a battling half-century from Kieran Powell (51).

Kagiso Rabada took 3-44 and Maharaj (5-36) became only the second South African to take a Test hat-trick in a sensational over just before lunch, with the tourists retaining the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy in the afternoon session.

Rabada reduced the Windies to 26-2 early in the day by removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope, but Powell and Kyle Mayers showed defiance.

They put on 64 for the third wicket before Mayers (34) top-edged to Dean Elgar at second slip attempting to hook the rapid Rabada.

Spinner Maharaj then took centre stage, dismissing Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in the penultimate over before lunch to join the Test hat-trick club.

Jermaine Blackwood (25) and Kemar Roach (27) added 40 for the seventh wicket, but Maharaj finished off the Windies with his fifth wicket by getting Jayden Seales caught at deep square leg, with Roston Chase unable to bat due to a quad injury.

 

MAHARAJ MAGIC

Geoff Griffin was the only South African to take a hat-trick for South Africa against England at Lord's in 1960 before Maharaj worked his magic in the penultimate over of the morning session.

He had Powell taken by Anrich Nortje in the deep on the leg side and snared Holder before Da Silva was taken by Wiaan Mulder at leg slip, sparking jubilant scenes.

The left-arm tweaker put the icing on the cake by helping himself to a seventh five-wicket Test haul after lunch.

 

POWELL A PLUS FOR WINDIES

Opener Powell was recalled for this series after being left out in the international wilderness since 2018.

He made only 14 in the second innings of the first Test after being selected as a concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner and fell for only five in his first knock in this match.

Powell, 31, showed the sort of defiance West Indies have been lacking in a 116-ball knock, but there was an all-too familiar collapse after he departed.

New Zealand were unable to build a lead on day four of the World Test Championship final against India as no play was possible due to rain.

There was frustration when the opening day was washed out in Southampton and it was the same story on a miserable Monday.

The Black Caps had taken the upper hand on day three, Kyle Jamieson taking 5-31 as Virat Kohli's side collapsed to 217 all out.

Devon Conway was dismissed for 54 late in the day, but New Zealand were in a promising position on 101-2 at stumps – trailing by 116.

Although a reserve day has been set aside for Wednesday, a draw would appear the most likely outcome in the inaugural final.

Kyle Jamieson and Devon Conway continued their magnificent starts to life in the longest format to put New Zealand in charge of the rain-affected World Test Championship final against India.

A first-day washout at the Ageas Bowl before Saturday's action was truncated by bad light means a positive result might not be possible, even allowing for Wednesday's reserve day.

However, towering seamer Jamieson (5-31) picked up his fifth five-for in eight Tests as India were dismissed for 217 under leaden skies before opener Conway (54) passed 50 for the third time in five innings to help Kane Williamson's men close on 101-2.

A day of New Zealand domination was not necessarily on the cards when India skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane resumed their 59-run partnership with the score 146-3, although Jamieson was quickly on the money.

He nipped one back to trap Kohli in front for 44, unable to add to his overnight score.

Rahane also missed out on a half-century, falling a run shy of the landmark when he popped Neil Wagner (2-40) to Tom Latham at midwicket. That made it 182-6 – Rishabh Pant had grown frustrated at failing to get off the mark for 20 balls before throwing his bat at the 22nd and edging Jamieson to Latham for four.

Ravindra Jadeja (15) and Ravichandran Ashwin (22) offered a modicum of lower-order resistance but Jamieson had his fifth when he pinned Jasprit Bumrah lbw.

Mohammed Shami's average of 47.95 across nine Tests in England is by far his worst in any country, although the India paceman was desperately unlucky not to improve upon those numbers across a 11 probing overs, with Conway and Latham both ballooning edges over the cordon.

Off-spinner Ashwin (1-20) gave one some extra flight to have Latham taken by Kohli at short extra cover for 30, ending a 70-run opening stand.

After bringing up a fine half century to sit alongside 200 and 80 in his debut series against England, Conway will be frustrated to have flicked to wide mid-on when Ishant Sharma overpitched.

Williamson (12 not out) remained when bad light intervened once more – the elements now arguably more likely to deny his side glory as opposed to anything India might muster in Southampton.

Kyle the king of swing and seam

Jamieson might not be the sort of express pace bowler whose emergence on the scene provokes widespread excitement, but he is a relentless performer and his nagging line, length and lift proved perfect in gloomy English conditions. He might race to 50 Test wickets before this game is out, currently on 44 at a remarkable average of 14.13.

India's big hitters come up short

Kohli's review for a plum lbw certainly fell into the L'Oreal category and India's day did not improve. It feels slightly harsh to highlight Rahane, who top-scored when batting was tough, but the manner in which he plonked himself into an obvious trap set by Wagner will gnaw away at him. The richly gifted Pant never looked like matching Kohli and Rahane's efforts during a torturous stay where he appeared completely ill-suited to the situation.

South Africa once again capitalised on West Indies' batting frailties to take charge of the second Test after Quinton de Kock fell just short of another century on day two.

De Kock made a classy century in a first Test that the Proteas won by an innings and 63 runs at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium and was dismissed for 96 at the same venue on Saturday.

Kemar Roach took 3-45 and Kyle Mayers claimed 3-28 - his best Test bowling figures - as the tourists were bowled out for 298 on the second day in Gros Islet.

The Windies were bowled out for only 149 in reply, losing their last four wickets for only six runs in the space of three and a half overs.

Kagiso Rabada (2-24), Lungi Ngidi (2-27) and Keshav Maharaj (2-47) took two wickets apiece, while Wiaan Mulder took three wickets for only one run late on another miserable day for West Indies - who trail by 149 runs and are facing a 2-0 series defeat.

Roach had Mulder caught behind in his first over of the day and Maharaj fell in the same fashion to Jason Holder after putting on 36 for the seventh wicket with De Kock.

De Kock fell just shy of a hundred when he attempted to slash Mayers for four, Shai Hope taking a simple catch in the gully after the ball looped up off Joshua Da Silva's glove.

Rabada added an unbeaten 21 and then had Kraigg Brathwaite caught behind off the first ball of the Windies' reply and they were in deep trouble on 54-4 when Maharaj removed Mayers.

Jermaine Blackwood (49) and Hope (43) offered some resistance, but West Indies folded and look to be facing a whitewash on home soil in a series they started by only posting a pitiful 97 and 162 in the opening Test.

De Kock falls just short

Wicketkeeper batsman De Kock was named man of the match in the first Test for his magnificent 141.

The explosive left-hander fell agonisingly short of a second successive hundred on the same ground, but his brilliant innings could be decisive.

De Kock struck eight boundaries in another assured, high quality 162-ball knock, having arrived at the crease on day one with work to do at 124-4.

 

Late Mulder burst sums up Windies' day

The Windies were already on the ropes at 143-6 before Mulder did late damage.

All-rounder Mulder had birthday boy Da Silva caught behind in his first over, then saw the back of Roach and Jayden Seales in the space of three balls.

Blackwood top-edged spinner Maharaj to Dean Elgar, ending a sorry innings that lasted only 54 overs.

Virat Kohli was nearing a half-century when bad light stopped play in the World Test Championship final as India's captain led a recovery against New Zealand.

Day one of the showpiece was lost to rain and the players were met with gloomy, overcast conditions in Southampton for day two.

Such surroundings naturally suited New Zealand's pace attack, with the Black Caps, fresh off a 1-0 series win over England, reducing India to 88-3.

But, as he has done so often throughout his career, Kohli lifted India, reaching 44 not out with a disciplined innings that featured just one four before the fading light forced the players off.

India were 146-3 when stumps were called, a score that may have been deemed underwhelming after Rohit Sharma (34) and Shubman Gill put on 62 for the opening wicket.

Yet the continually impressive Kyle Jamieson broke that stand with a full delivery that drew a thick edge from Rohit.

New Zealand applied the pressure and just one run had been added when Gill's stay at the crease was ended with Neil Wagner's third delivery, which saw the opener caught behind for 28.

Kohli steadied the ship, but Cheteshwar Pujara, having slashed a four through backward point and then creamed another through the covers, eventually succumbed to a vintage delivery from Trent Boult, whose inswinger trapped him in front.

However, the India skipper found a partner with staying power in Ajinkya Rahane, who found the rope four times in his unbeaten 29 before the light meters returned a result that stopped their progress cold.


PUJARA'S POOR FORM PERSISTS

With his dismissal for eight, Pujara has failed to score more than 21 runs in each of his past six innings. He has scores of 15, 21, seven, none, 17 and eight since his first-innings 73 against England in Chennai in February. The 33-year-old is out of form and it is fair to wonder whether he will keep his place with a series against England on the horizon.

WILL SPOILS BE SHARED?

Had this game been played a week earlier, there would have been no doubt of a result as England was bathed in sunshine. Now, even with the prospect of using a reserve day, it is questionable whether there will be enough play to deliver a result, with rain forecast on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The final could turn into a non-event, and there is an increasing likelihood the teams will share the Test Championship mace.

India and New Zealand were frustrated by the English weather as day one of the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton was washed out.

Rain on Friday meant the International Cricket Council (ICC) showpiece match could not get under way as planned at the Ageas Bowl, with players seen splashing through puddles on the outfield as they checked out the conditions.

The decision to call off the day's scheduled play came at close to 14:45 local time. Weather forecasts for the area suggest rain could be a factor on several days of the match.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day, to allow the teams to make up any time lost if necessary.

The ICC said on Twitter: "Due to persistent rain, play has been abandoned on day one of the #WTC21 Final in Southampton."

India and New Zealand were frustrated by the English weather as day one of the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton was washed out.

Rain on Friday meant the International Cricket Council (ICC) showpiece match could not get under way as planned at the Ageas Bowl, with players seen splashing through puddles on the outfield as they checked out the conditions.

The decision to call off the day's scheduled play came at close to 14:45 local time. Weather forecasts for the area suggest rain could be a factor on several days of the match.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day, to allow the teams to make up any time lost if necessary.

The ICC said on Twitter: "Due to persistent rain, play has been abandoned on day one of the #WTC21 Final in Southampton."

South Africa have the opportunity to seal a first away Test series win for over four years at the expense of wounded West Indies at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

The Proteas hammered the Windies by an innings and 63 runs in the first Test since Dean Elgar was appointed as South Africa captain. They only need to avoid defeat at the same venue in the second match, starting on Friday, to wrap up the two-game series.

Not since March 2017 have South Africa secured a series victory on tour in the longest format, that success coming against New Zealand.

Until the opening success over West Indies last week, the South Africans had not won any Test match away from home since beating England in July 2017 at Trent Bridge.

West Indies were embarrassed on the outskirts of Gros Islet, in St Lucia, where they were skittled out for only 97 in the first innings and could only muster 162 second time around.

The pitiful first-innings total was the lowest West Indies have been dismissed for against South Africa, with Lungi Ngidi taking 5-19 and Anrich Nortje 4-35.

Quinton de Kock made a magnificent 141 to pick up the man of the match award before Kagiso Rabada steamed in to claim figures of 5-43 in the second innings, putting the tourists 1-0 up in the battle for the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy.

Kraigg Brathwaite's home side must come out fighting on Friday as they attempt to salvage a 1-1 draw, eager to end a run of nine Tests without a win over South Africa.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and batsman Darren Bravo have been recalled by the Windies, while Nkrumah Bonner is unavailable for selection due to concussion protocol after he was substituted in the opening Test.

 

MARKRAM: MORE TO COME FROM PROTEAS

South Africa could not have wished for a better start to the series, but opening batsman Aiden Markram says the tourists can move to another level.

Markram said: "It will be tough to better that performance. I'm hoping we've got more percentage in terms of being better for the next Test. I'm positive we've got something more in us."

He added: "It doesn't matter the result, if you win or lose the game, because if you're operating at the standard we've set as a team, then more often than not you'll get good results. We're pretty inexperienced, so the only thing we can measure ourselves against is the standards we set for ourselves."

 

FORMER SKIPPER URGES WINDIES CRITICS TO HOLD FIRE

Critics rounded on West Indies following their drubbing in the first Test, but former captain Jason Holder called for patience.

The top-ranked Test all-rounder said: "We have a relatively inexperienced batting line-up. There are guys who are looking to re-engage with Test cricket and others trying to engage in the Test arena.

"All these things add up. We need to be a little bit more patient. We've seen what they can produce, with the performances just in the recent past."

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- West Indies are winless in their last six Tests on home soil (D2, L4); their last victory in the Caribbean was a 10-wicket triumph over England in February 2019.
- South Africa have a catch success rate of 81.7 per cent since the beginning of 2017 in Tests, the highest of any team. They have held on to 451 of their 552 opportunities.
- Since his debut in February 2014, no wicketkeeper has registered more dismissals in men's Tests than De Kock (221 – 210 catches and 11 stumpings).
- The Proteas' win in the first Test was their first at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium – having lost an ODI and two Twenty20 Internationals at the venue.

Spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been named in India's side for the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl.

The Black Caps did not face a frontline spinner in a 1-0 Test series victory over England, but they will have to contend with two in Southampton.

Ashwin and Jadeja were named in a five-match bowling attack along with Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah on the eve of an inaugural final that is due to start on Friday, but poor weather could result in an opening-day washout.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling are expected to be fit to return after missing the decisive second Test win over England at Edgbaston.

Watling will be playing in the final match of his professional career if he gets the nod to replace Tom Blundell.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day in case a full five days cannot be completed and that may be required with rain and storms forecast.

New Zealand are top of the rankings and come into the game on a high after securing their first Test series win in England since 1999, hammering Joe Root's side by eight wickets early on day four.

They demonstrated their strength in depth by making six changes, with Matt Henry claiming the man of the match award after he was among the players to come into the side.

Skipper Williamson, who has been troubled by an elbow injury, is delighted with the strides his side have made and says there is more to come.

"There's been a lot of growth over a period of time so many challenges along the way every day but the team has bought into it and tried to move past those with a good attitude," the prolific batsman said.

"There is lot of hard work done over a long period of time to find ourselves here in the first final.

"It's exciting but for us it's just focusing on continuing that growth and trying to keep committing to the parts of our game that give us the best chance and that's where I know the guys will be focusing on. We are trying to look at the long game and try and improve all the time."

 

INDIA IN A QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE - KOHLI

Captain Virat Kohli says India will remain in a quest for excellence regardless of the outcome in the final.

He said: "For us as a team we have been on a quest for excellence for a while now. And we are going to continue to be on that path regardless of what happens in this game. We have no doubts whatsoever in our abilities and what we can do as a side.

"As an individual player, look, we won the 2011 World Cup which was a great moment for all of us. But cricket goes on. Just the way life goes on. And you have to treat failure and success the same way, and you have to treat the so-called outstandingly big moments pretty similar to the other moments as well.

"So, yes, it is an occasion that has to be enjoyed from our point of view, but it is not different for us or no more important for us than the first Test match that we played together as a young group of players back in the day when we were trying to come up the ranks. So, yes, the mindset remains the same."
 

BLACK CAPS SPOILT FOR CHOICE

New Zealand's bowlers tore through England in the second innings at Edgbaston, skittling them out for only 122 in another demonstration that the selectors are spoilt for choice.

Henry, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and India-born spinner Ajaz Patel did the damage as Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson were among the players given a chance to put their feet up.

Pacemen Southee and Jamieson starred when New Zealand whitewashed India 2-0 last year.

Southee was named man of the match with match figures of 9-110 in the first Test at Basin Reserve and Jamieson picked up the award in the second match, taking 5-45 in the first innings. 

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- The previous seven Tests matches between the two nations have seen each team pick up three wins (D1).
- India have lost each of their previous two matches at the venue against England, while this will be the Black Caps' first Test at the ground.
- Kohli's side have lost just one of their past seven Tests (W5, D1), the loss coming at home to England in February.
- No spinner has dismissed Williamson more times in Test cricket than Ashwin (five, also Pragyan Ojha). His false shot percentage of 21.9 per cent against Ashwin is his highest against any bowler he has faced a minimum of 150 balls.

Kane Williamson and BJ Watling are expected to be fit to play for New Zealand against India in the ICC World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl.

Captain Williamson missed the second Test of the series with England due to an elbow issue, while a back injury stopped wicketkeeper Watling from playing in that game at Edgbaston.

However, the duo have both been included in a 15-man squad for the decider with India, which begins on Friday.

There is also a place for Ajaz Patel as the specialist spinner ahead of Mitchell Santner, while Colin de Grandhomme is the all-rounder and Will Young will provide batting cover. Tom Blundell - who took over behind the stumps in Birmingham - will be Watling's understudy.

Along with Santner, Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra are the other players to miss out on selection.

"There's had to be some tough calls with Mitchell and Daryl victims of the fierce competition we currently have for places in the Test side," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead.

"We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl.

"Colin's been an integral member of our Test set-up for many years and it was great to see him return at Lord’s after a long injury lay-off. He’s a proven performer at the top level and we back him to do a job with the bat or the ball if called upon.

"Kane and BJ have certainly benefitted from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final."

Despite the absences of Williamson and Watling, a much-changed New Zealand side won the second Test against England, in the process securing a 1-0 series victory over their hosts.

The Black Caps are on an eight-match unbeaten run in the format, while India have lost just once in their previous seven Tests. In the past seven meetings between the countries, both have won three apiece to go along with a solitary draw.
 

New Zealand squad for ICC World Test Championship final: 

Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young

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