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Virat Kohli impresses as India frustrate New Zealand

Virat Kohli impresses as India frustrate New Zealand
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The India captain was unbeaten on 44 at the end of day two at the Ageas Bowl.

Virat Kohli led a battling effort from India's batsmen as they tussled with New Zealand for control of the inaugural World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl.

The winner-takes-all showpiece finally got into its stride on day two after Friday's washout, with India reaching 143 for three, but an intriguing contest was not allowed to play to its natural conclusion as the last of three separate breaks for bad light brought an early conclusion after 64.4 overs.

The picture could easily have been worse for India had they faltered under the kind of stiff examination that downed England at Edgbaston last week, but Kohli shepherded his side through with a resolute 44 not out from 124 deliveries.

His hunger to occupy the stage had already been in evidence when he remonstrated with the match officials during a curious incident when he was still on 17.

Kiwi captain Kane Williamson allowed the DRS clock to run down following a big appeal for caught behind off Trent Boult, only for umpire Richard Illingworth to refer the decision himself. Having effectively abdicated responsibility for a verdict of his own, he offered a sheepish 'soft signal' in the bowler's favour.

That was promptly overturned, the right verdict as UltraEdge showed no contact, but the drama around every potential Kohli dismissal was once again in full evidence.

Kohli deep in discussion with umpire Richard Illingworth at the Ageas Bowl.
Virat Kohli deep in discussion with umpire Richard Illingworth at the Ageas Bowl (Adam Davy/PA)

The day began under ominously leaden skies, Williamson enthusiastically asking India to bat first only to be repaid by a sloppy first hour from his new-ball bankers, Boult and Tim Southee.

In English conditions that batsmen dread the Kiwis allowed 41 runs in the first hour, with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill only prevented from doing further damage by a sluggish outfield.

New Zealand were dragged back by Kyle Jamieson, who settled instantly into a troubling line and length and walked off in the evening with immaculate figures of 14-9-14-1.

Gill wore one vicious lifter in the helmet, while the dangerous Rohit (34) simply lost patience and nicked an outswinger to the diving Southee. After 20 overs and 62 runs scored, it was a much-needed breakthrough.

New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson celebrates the wicket of Rohit Sharma
New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson celebrates the wicket of Rohit Sharma (Adam Davy/PA).

Neil Wagner was the fifth New Zealand bowler to get his hands on the Dukes ball but needed only three deliveries to what the others could not, flicking the edge of Gill's bat to send him back for 28.

From that point, almost nothing came easily for the batsmen. With Jamieson pointing the way, the rest of the attack levelled up and began asking all the right questions. After taking lunch at 69 for two, India added another 51 in a fiendishly tricky afternoon session as Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara dug in.

The latter did not get off the mark until his 36th ball, was hit on the head by Wagner and eventually fell for eight as Boult trapped him lbw, but Kohli was intent on sticking around.

is first scoring shot had been a sweet hit through cover for four but that proved something of a red herring as he favoured blocks, leaves and gentle dabs to keep the score ticking.

Cheteshwar Pujara is struck on the helmet by Neil Wagner
Cheteshwar Pujara is struck on the helmet by Neil Wagner (Adam Davy/PA).

For a player with so many flourishes at his disposal, this was a fighter's knock and the lack of any further boundaries did not ruffle him whatsoever as kept his technique compact.

In Ajinkya Rahane (29no) he found a diligent support act, and the pair knuckled down for the remainder of a disjointed day.

The tea break came 15 minutes early as the Illingworth and Michael Gough took an overly cautious approach, a trend that continued as the players were ushered off after two more mini sessions.

The frustration of the 3,200 fans in attendance was not hard to hear and with just 64.4 overs possible out of a scheduled 180, even a reserve day may not be enough to avoid the title – and the £1.74million prize pot – being split.

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General view of the big screen as it displays a message that play between India and New Zealand has been abandoned for the day on June 18, 2021
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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