Live coverage has concluded, click here for the wrap of the day's play.
India 146/3 - 64.4 overs: Virat Kohli 44*, Ajinkya Rahane 29*
There we go. Rain has started to fall, and the news has now come through that play has been abandoned for the day.
The official word from the ground is that there is no news(?!). It sounds like they're going to give every possible chance for play to resume tonight, to make up for the time that's already been lost.
The umpires are having an inspection of the conditions, but those at the ground aren't too optimistic about any more play today.
The light has gotten considerably worse out on the ground, with some ridiculously dark clouds overhead.
All of the covers are on, but there's not been any rain (yet).
We'll bring you any official word as soon as we know.
It's just gone past 5pm local time. Weather and light permitting, we can play through until 7pm.
The covers are coming out again, hopefully just as a precaution.
Boult to Rahane.
Rahane works one off his hip for a single, and brings Kohli onto strike. Boult changes his angle and comes around the wicket to Kohli, who defends into the off-side for two.
The light metres are back out. Kohli's already walking off before the umpires have made their reading.
Bad light stops play again.
Southee to Kohli.
Kohli walks across his stumps to clip the ball into the leg side, and get back for two runs.
Two runs from the over.
Boult comes back into the attack in place of Jamieson, Kohli to face.
Straight away he attacks Kohli's pads, and has an lbw shout second ball. The ball's pitched outside leg stump though, so not out.
Kohli gets one away down the leg side, and brings Rahane back onto strike. Leg bye confirmed.
Half-appeal for lbw on Rahane, but no response from the umpire. Just the leg bye from the over.
Southee continues to Rahane.
The batsman gets two after an inside edge down towards fine leg.
Just two runs from the over.
Jamieson carries on to Kohli. The first ball finds the outside edge, but Kohli keeps it along the ground to Nicholls.
Kohli sees off the rest of the over, a maiden.
Southee carries on, he was on fire before the stoppage. Rahane on strike.
After a couple of full away-swingers, Southee tries a bouncer that Rahane rocks back and pulls for four to raise the 50 run partnership.
Two dot balls to finish the over, four from it.
Jamieson's got two balls left in the over, his 13th. Kohli on strike.
Kohli leaves Jamieson's fifth ball of the over, and cops one on the pad with the last, but the lbw appeal is turned down, missing leg stump.
There we go, the Blackcaps are back out on the field, followed by Kohli and Rahane.
We should be back underway soon.
Word from the ground is that the covers are coming off. Hopefully we'll get some more play in before stumps, if the light clears up.
The covers are coming out onto the ground, this could be the end of play for day two.
Jamieson replaces Wagner.
Four dot balls to start the over, but the umpires want to check the light again. This doesn't look good.
Bad light stops play again.
Southee resumes to Kohli, and beats him on the front foot with an outswinger. And again second ball, Kohli looks keen to get a move on after the tea break.
Kohli whips a full and straight ball to mid-on for a single. Another outswinger and Southee beats Rahane now! And again.
Southee has the ball on a string against the two right handers. Can he finish well?
He goes looking for it with the last ball, and Rahane drives through point for a boundary to finish.
Five runs from the over.
Wagner carries on after tea from the other end. He'll bowl at Kohli.
Kohli drives the first ball, straight to Conway at point. Wagner goes wider, and Kohli edges the second ball but with soft hands, dropping short of Southee.
Wagner goes fuller, Kohli pushes a single to Williamson at mid-off.
Rahane on strike, and Wagner bounces him. Rahane hooks and gets a top edge, but there's no one in the outfield to catch it.
Kohli's back on strike, and pushes Wagner through the off-side for three. Last ball of the over, and Rahane drives through cover for a boundary.
Nine runs from an un-Wagner like over.
Southee will continue, he's still got three balls in the over from before the tea break.
Rahane faces up, and leaves the first ball after the break, wide and getting wider with away swing.
Southee goes short and down leg, Rahane plays at the ball through to Watling. There's an appeal for a catch, but the umpire isn't moved.
Final ball of the over, inswinger that Rahane defends. Maiden, over both sides of the tea break.
It looks like the light has improved enough to resume. The umpires have made the call to get on with it.
Kohli and Rahane make their way out to the middle, the Blackcaps huddle on the boundary.
Still more than 40 overs scheduled to be bowled today, but we are expecting rain as well.
It's important to note that the umpires haven't called for the covers, which means they're confident it isn't going to rain any time soon.
Here's hoping the clouds overhead pass so we can resume after the tea break.
2:12am - TEA
Southee carries on, Rahane on strike. Dark clouds are starting to gather over the ground.
Rahane plays out the first three balls of the over, before the umpires come together, this could be the players going off here.
Yep, bad light stops play. They'll take tea. We're still supposed to have 42.3 overs today.
Wagner returns, this partnership is now worth 30 runs for India, and has the potential to get away on the Blackcaps.
No ball from Wagner with the third delivery of the over, just the second extra given away by NZ today.
Wagner sends one across Rahane, who drives and gets the outside edge, but it drops short of Latham in the gully.
Rahane takes a single into square leg. Bouncer to finish, Kohli sways out of the way.
Two from the over.
Southee carrying on. Kohli pushes the first ball of the over into the covers for two.
Same result again with the second ball, two more to India's total. Last ball of the over and Kohli manages an outside edge between the slips and gully for two more.
Six runs off the over.
CdG to Kohli, who takes a single from the first ball to bring Rahane back onto strike.
The ball is still swinging past the 50th over, these two are batting very well to just keep their wickets intact.
Appeal against Rahane, but clear edge onto the pad. De Grandhomme responds with a wide half-tracker, and Rahane cuts him for four. Class shot.
Five from the over.
Southee to Kohli. He goes too straight with the last ball and Kohli glances through midwicket for a single.
One from the over.
Colin de Grandhomme replaces Boult at the other end. Rahane faces up.
Relatively quiet maiden.
Southee's back. Kohli on strike.
The second ball is a peach. Southee goes full, Kohli plays and the ball shapes past the outside edge.
Lbw appeal last ball of the over, but that's a very obvious inside edge. Maiden over from Southee, a very good one.
Boult resumes to Kohli, who steers him for three behind point. The Blackcaps appear to be flagging slightly in the field.
Boult overpitches and Rahane slaps him through cover, the batsmen run two.
Five from the over.
Jamieson to Kohli. Southee's left the field again, potentially to get ready to bowl.
Kohli defends into the off-side and steals a single. Rahane on strike again, and he sees out the over.
Boult carries on, Kohli on strike.
First ball is full, Kohli defends for no run. Boult goes fuller and on middle, Kohli works through midwicket for three. Rahane on strike.
Boult attacks Rahane's pad, but can't beat the bat. Boult goes wider, Rahane tries to drive, but gets an inside edge.
Boult goes shorter, and Rahane punches him off the back foot through point. The batsmen run two and that brings up the 100 for India.
One ball to come. Rahane keeps the last ball out. Five runs from the over.
Jamieson carries on, Rahane on strike.
Starts with a full swinging delivery, but Rahane's up to it and keeps it out. Jamieson sends down a leg stump inswinger, that Rahane leaves and is struck on the pad. Slight lbw appeal, but that's not troubling the stumps.
Full outswinger from Jamieson, Rahane defends to point, no run. Fifth ball is short, wide and swinging away, Rahane doesn't want any of it.
Last ball, proper inswinger but Rahane keeps it out.
Boult to resume after drinks, Kohli on strike. Starts with a bouncer, Kohli ducks under it.
Kohli plays it safe for the first five balls, then works the last one off leg stump for two runs to end the over.
Jamieson to Rahane again, and starts with the inswinger again. Jamieson follows up with five outswingers - one of which draws a shot from Rahane.
Maiden over. That'll be drinks too.
Boult carries on to Kohli. Boult goes straight and Kohli walks across to work him into the leg side for one.
Rahane faces up. Full ball from Boult that Rahane pushes to mid-off for a single. Chance for a run out but Williamson can't hit the stumps!
That was gone if Williamson could have hit the stumps.
Two runs from the over.
Jamieson carries on, he'll bowl at Rahane.
Huge inswinger to start, but Rahane is up to it and clips to midwicket - no run. Outswinger to follow, Rahane leaves.
A few more outswingers, but Rahane's happy to play out a maiden.
Rahane on strike, four balls to come. Boult looks for that same ball that got Pujara, but Rahane works him for three runs to get off the mark.
Kohli on strike. Last ball of the over and the Blackcaps appeal?! The ball goes down leg, and Kohli plays at it. Boult is certain he's got Kohli caught behind.
Williamson runs out of time to call for the review, but the umpires want to have a look. Are they checking to see if the ball carried to Watling? The ball's gone cleanly into the gloves, but there's nothing on snicko.
Not out the call.
1:01am - WICKET
Boult comes back into the attack, he'll bowl at Kohli.
Kohli squeezes a single to point. Pujara on strike.
WICKET! Boult gets Pujara lbw first ball! Boult swings one back into the right hander, and hits him on the pads. The umpire wastes no time in giving him out.
Pujara thinks about the review, but walks off for eight.
Ajinkya Rahane replaces him.
Jamieson's back on the field, and he's back into the attack. Kohli on strike, he's Jamieson's captain in the IPL of course.
First couple of balls are outside off, and Kohli's prepared to leave. India's batsmen are playing the ball outside off-stump so much better than England did in NZ's series win.
Jamieson attacks leg stump, Kohli clips him into leg. The ball was in the air, but there was no one at midwicket to catch it. The batsmen run three.
Pujara will face the last ball of the over, he defends to point.
Wagner to Kohli. Two fielders back for the hook shot.
Short and wide ball outside off, Kohli goes after it but can't connect. Kohli steers Wagner behind point for two runs.
Wagner pitches one up to finish the over, Kohli pushes it into the covers for a single.
The de Grandhomme-Kohli battle continues.
Kohli drives through cover to ease the pressure, Conway saves the boundary but the batsmen run three.
Pujara to face de Grandhomme then. Sees out the over for no more runs.
Wagner carries on, as Jamieson leaves the field - maybe to change into his bowling boots?
Short ball, Pujara goes for the pull shot but he's hit in the helmet too. The protective equipment on Pujara's helmet goes flying, luckily not onto the stumps.
There'll be a delay to check Pujara's alright, he bumps fists with Wagner so it all looks to be good. All is good, Wagner to carry on to Pujara. He goes short again and Pujara leaves it.
Pujara leaves the rest of the over alone. Maiden.
And de Grandhomme continues to Kohli.
Kohli prods at the third ball of the over, that de Grandhomme manages to nip past the outside edge of the bat.
Kohli's happy to leave de Grandhomme alone, playing out a maiden.
Wagner carries on to Pujara, and gets driven for four to start the over - two boundaries in two balls! Elsewhere, Southee is back on the field.
Wagner goes to his short pitched strategy, but Pujara is happy to leave anything that's not on his stumps.
Final ball of the over is down leg, Pujara's not tempted.
De Grandhomme carries on to Kohli. Maiden over.
Wagner continues to Pujara, who's 0 off 30.
Bouncer to start, Pujara is tempted into hooking but leaves. Wagner is giving nothing away here.
Wagner dishes up width to finish the over, and Pujara cuts beautifully for four to get off the mark!
Four runs off the over then.
Kohli to face de Grandhomme - good battle on the cards here.
Huge appeal as de Grandhomme clips Kohli's back pad - umpire Michael Gough says not out and Williamson doesn't challenge it.
Wagner to Kohli.
India are being very watchful after lunch. Kohli isn't attacking - yet, happy to watch the ball go through to Watling.
Wagner goes too straight with the last ball of the over and Kohli works him to square leg for a single to finish.
Southee's emerged from the dressing room, but de Grandhomme will take the ball from the other end. Pujara on strike, he's 0 from 24 balls.
Make that 0 from 25, as Pujara leaves one outside off. Four balls into the over, and Pujara hasn't played a shot in anger. He's happy to wait for the bad ball.
One ball to come, and Pujara's in two minds whether to play or leave, he lets it go through to Watling. Another maiden.
Kohli will take strike after the break, but who will take the ball for the Blackcaps? Wagner will resume.
First ball after lunch is on that fourth stump line, Kohli leaves. Wagner pitches one up next ball, Kohli drives but straight to the man at cover. Tim Southee hasn't come back after lunch, Will Young is on as his replacement.
Full again from Wagner, Kohli drives again, straight to the fielder - again. Wagner goes very wide, Kohli leaves.
Wagner keeps the wide approach to Kohli, but the Indian skipper is happy to leave. Wagner goes at the pads to finish, Kohli clips it straight to the fielder at midwicket.
Maiden over to start after lunch.
We're back after the break.
Kohli and Pujara stride back out to the wicket, meanwhile the Blackcaps have another huddle before they make their way out.
It's a tough one to call, but you'd probably say that the Blackcaps just have their noses in front.
India's openers did great to add a 50-run partnership, but they both fell and now their two most important batsmen are at the crease.
The Blackcaps meanwhile will know what mistakes they made early on, and definitely finished on the front foot.
We'll be back in around 30 minutes for the afternoon session.
11:32pm - LUNCH
Final over before lunch. Southee to Kohli.
First ball is wide, and Kohli leaves. Southee on the money with ball two, honing in on the off-stump before moving away from the batsman.
Same deal with ball three, Kohli leaves again. Southee goes down leg, looking for swing and finding none.
Southee targets the front pad, and Kohli flicks him to fine leg for a single. Last ball before lunch, Pujara on strike.
Pujara defends, and that's the first session done!
Wagner continues to Kohli.
The Indian captain gets off the mark with a perfect cover driver. You won't see a better shot than that for the rest of this test match.
Kohli plays out two dots before he turns one into leg for a single. Pujara on strike, still looking to open his account.
Wagner goes across Pujara, who leaves it through to the keeper. Final ball of the over is full, Pujara drives back to the bowler.
Five runs from the over.
Southee carries on, with a new batsman at each end.
Pujara defends an inswinger into the leg side and tries to take a single, but is sent back by Kohli.
Southee doesn't relent. Maiden over.
Kohli was out to the ground in a flash, he'll look to meet this challenge head on. Three balls to come in Wagner's first over.
First ball to Kohli is wide, and he leaves it alone. Wagner pitches one up, and Kohli meets it with the full face of the bat, but can't beat the fielder at mid-off.
Worth noting that Kohli's also batting out of his crease. Wagner finishes with another wide ball that Kohli leaves.
11:16pm - WICKET
Neil Wagner comes into the attack before lunch.
He starts by swinging one back into Gill, who defends. Goes a bit shorter to follow, but Gill is solid in behind it.
WICKET! Wagner strikes! He goes across Gill, who nibbles at one and gets the edge through to Watling!
Gill walks off for 28, but in comes the captain - Virat Kohli.
Gill tucks a single to mid-on, Patel as sub fielder, to bring Pujara on strike to face Southee.
Southee averages less than 14 with the ball against Pujara in his career.
Four dots to finish the over.
Jamieson continues, Pujara on strike. The fourth ball of the over sees Pujara saved by his inside edge as Jamieson beats him for pace.
Pujara is beaten by the fifth ball, and then leaves the last one alone. Maiden over.
Williamson brings Southee back, good call with the ball swinging and two right-handers at the crease.
Gill on strike. Maiden over.
Pujara takes his guard, Williamson brings in a man under the lid at short leg.
Jamieson produces an inswinger that's wide enough for Pujara to leave first up. Jamieson goes full next up, and Pujara defends - Gill would have punched that straight for four.
Shorter next up from Jamieson, Pujara defends. Another inswinger follows, Pujara defends into leg, no run.
Jamieson goes short and at the body of Pujara to finish. The ball balloons of the thigh pad to short leg.
Wicket maiden for the Blackcaps.
10:58pm - WICKET
Jamieson stays on for another over.
Wicket! Jamieson breaks the partnership! A ball outside off drags Rohit forward, and pushes his bat forwards. The ball takes the outside edge, and sails through to Southee at second slip who completes the catch!
Rohit goes for 34, as Cheteshwar Pujara replaces him.
CdG carries on, but Neil Wagner has started his warm up.
Rohit strokes another back foot drive to the fence for four more. Conway is back on the fence to stop that shot, and is called into action to save the boundary.
Gill finishes the over with two off his hip into the leg side.
Seven runs from that over.
Jamieson carries on, and gets punched for two more down the ground by Gill.
But Jamieson comes back well with five dots.
Rohit brings up the 50 opening stand with a gorgeous back-foot drive from de Grandhomme for four.
Appeal for lbw, umpire Michael Gough says no, but Williamson refers. On first replay, Rohit's edged onto his pad. Not out stands.
Four from the over.
Jamieson beats Gill with bounce first ball of the 17th over, then gets him on the pad. Third ball is left alone through to Watling.
Jamieson sends down an inswinger that Gill watches miss his off-stump, perilously close there.
Gill tries to come down the wicket to Jamieson, who fires one in short and hits the batsman in the head. There'll be a delay while Gill is assessed by India's medial team, but he appears fine.
Gill's all good to carry on, one ball to come in the over. Defends to end the over, another maiden.
De Grandhomme carries on, and beats Rohit again with his first ball, nipping one past the outside edge.
But he goes short and wide and Rohit doesn't need any second invitation to flay him to the fence for four more.
Four from that over too.
Jamieson carries on after drinks, Gill on strike.
Two dot balls to start, before Jamieson goes short and gets pulled for four more by Gill. Great shot.
Four from the over.
Colin de Grandhomme replaces Boult.
First ball to Rohit nips away from the right hander. Rohit crunches a back-foot punch next up, but can't beat Conway at point.
Another maiden over, and that'll be drinks after the first hour.
A good start to the day for India, but good signs for the Blackcaps in the last few overs.
Jamieson to carry on to Gill, can he get it swinging like Boult?
He can, a bit of shape from the first ball which Gill watches through to Watling. Carbon copy with ball two as well. Jamieson goes a bit shorter with his third, Gill advances but leaves.
A bit fuller from Jamieson with ball four, Gill defends late. Two dot balls to finish, back to back maidens from the Blackcaps.
Boult carries on to Rohit, his sixth over in a row.
The ball's starting to swing now, as Boult teases Rohit outside the off-stump.
Five dot balls to start the over, can Boult finish strong? Rohit defends one off his hip to finish, that's the first maiden of the day.
First bowling change of the morning, as Jamieson replaces Southee.
Starts with a beauty outside off that Gill hangs his bat at, but can't get anything on through to Watling.
Huge inswinger from Jamieson in reply, and Gill drives him beautifully through mid-on for four.
Jamieson goes back to outswing, and finishes the over with four dots.
Boult continues, and gets clipped for one by Gill.
Rohit comes onto strike, and Boult looks to attack his front pad. Nearly gets his man with the final ball, as Rohit inside edges onto his pad.
Just the one run from the over, and that's the first 10 done.
Moral victory to India.
Southee carries on. He goes too full to Gill who punches down the ground. Jamieson saves a boundary but the batsmen run three.
Rohit on strike, and he pushes at a wider ball, driving through point for four more. Southee responds in style though, beating Rohit all up through to Watling's gloves.
Seven runs from the over.
Boult continues, and is punched down the ground for three by Gill.
Boult comes back well though, as Rohit sees out the rest of the over.
Southee continues, and he's punched for four by Rohit through point. Yorker to follow up from Southee, and Sharma flicks it to mid-on.
Southee pitches one up, and Rohit gets an outside edge through the slips and gully for four more.
Rohit defends into the leg side to take two more runs from the final ball - 10 runs from the over.
Short leg comes in for Gill, Conway under the lid. Boult continues.
Boult tries a bouncer with his fourth ball, and Gill rocks back to pull through midwicket for four! First boundary of the test.
Four runs from the over.
Gill tucks Southee of his hip for three runs into the leg side. Both Indian batsmen are batting outside their crease to negate any swing.
Southee beats Rohit with a beauty, pitching outside off and swinging away with the batsman reaching for it. Southee tries the same again next ball, but Rohit leaves.
Southee comes wider on the crease and squares Rohit up, no run. Rohit inside edges onto his pad with the last ball.
Boult to bowl at Gill now. He leaves the first ball that goes past off-stump. Gill gets off the mark with the third ball of the over, getting an inside edge to square leg.
Rohit back on strike, Boult pushes one across him and the batsman leaves. Boult goes straighter, Rohit defends.
Boult finishes with a wide ball that Rohit pushes to Conway at point.
Southee continues to Gill. First ball is straight and swings back in, hits Gill on the pad. NZ appeal for the lbw, but no chance. The batsmen take a leg bye.
Southee's found his radar. The second and third balls are on that fourth stump line, moving away from the right-hander, Rohit leaves. Southee goes fuller and straighter, Rohit defends.
Wide again from Southee, Rohit's tempted, but leaves ball five.
Southee comes in wider of the crease, and Rohit punches through cover for two runs.
Trent Boult takes the ball from the other end. He's up against Rohit - his IPL teammate with Mumbai Indians.
Boult starts with a short one outside leg, Rohit fends but doesn't get anything on it. Watling dives to take it.
Full, straight and swinging from Boult next up, Rohit defends on the front foot.
Chance! Boult picthes up and Rohit edges onto his pad. Gill sets off for a single, but Rohit sends him back! Run out chance, but Wagner can't get the throw back to the non-striker's end to beat Gill's dive.
Boult finds some swing back into Rohit, who defends the fifth ball.
Low full toss to finish the over, Rohit drives past mid-off for two runs.
Southee's too straight first up, and Rohit clips him off his pads for three runs. No swing from the first ball.
Shubman Gill takes his guard, Southee sends it down leg. Southee follows up with a wide ball outside off-stump that swings after passing the bat. Gill leaves.
Southee follows up with another one down leg, Gill plays and misses with his attempted glance.
More swing for Southee with ball five, outside off, Gill leaves. Final ball of the first over, Southee goes full, Gill defends.
Three runs from it.
Here we go then!
Southee has the ball in hand, Rohit Sharma takes guard to face the first ball...
Kane Williamson leads the Blackcaps in their huddle.
India's openers make their way to the middle, we're all on.
The pitch is a very healthy green colour. The conditions are definitely a lot more similar to what to expect in New Zealand than you'd get in India.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee will be licking their lips at the thought of getting stuck into India's top order this morning.
Both teams are out in the middle for the anthems, then we'll be underway in less than 10 minutes.
So, those are two very interesting teams. The Blackcaps' read of the conditions says that they won't need a spinner, while India think they will need two.
Someone's gotten it wrong.
Importantly though, the toss means that the Blackcaps could have to bat last against the Indian pair of Ashwin and Jadeja.
Virat Kohli confirms that India are sticking with the XI they'd already named.
India: 1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Shubman Gill, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (c), 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Rishabh Pant (wk), 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Mohammed Shami, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
Colin de Grandhomme is given the nod ahead of Ajaz Patel as the only real selection point. Meaning that the Blackcaps have no specialist spinner for the final.
Blackcaps: 1. Tom Latham, 2. Devon Conway, 3. Kane Williamson (c), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Watling (wk), 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Kyle Jamieson, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Neil Wagner, 11. Trent Boult.
Here we go then, both skippers out in the middle for the toss.
Kane Williamson wins the toss and New Zealand will bowl first!
Great toss to win under grey skies, we'll have the final XIs for you shortly.
Good evening! Great news from the middle, we're all good to go for the start this morning.
That'll start with the toss, in about 15 minutes time.
Kia ora, welcome to Newshub's live updates of the second day's play of the World Test Championship final between the Blackcaps and India from Southampton's Ageas Bowl.
After all the hype, day one was nothing but a damp squib, with play called off at around 2am Saturday morning.
But not to worry, the sun is out over the Ageas Bowl this morning, meaning we'll definitely be in for some cricket.
Saturday morning's rain could come into account when New Zealand pick their team, with the big question mark around whether there'll be room for the spin of Ajaz Patel.
India meanwhile named their team on Thursday night, but could reconsider taking the rain into account, likely to drop one of their spinners if they're to make a change.
New Zealand $2.75, India $3.55, draw $2.24
New Zealand (from) - Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling, Tom Blundell, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel
India: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinka Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Blackcaps' winning record over India counts for nothing: Southee
The Blackcaps' superior recent record over India counts for nothing heading into the World Test Championship final, seamer Tim Southee says.
With the two sides to meet at Southampton's Ageas Bowl from Friday to decide which nation will be crowned as inaugural winners of the World Test Championship.
The Blackcaps are coming into the test arguably in the best position. New Zealand has warmed up with a series victory over hosts England, while India has only had one intra-squad match as their preparation.
New Zealand also holds the wood over India in test cricket, winning the two sides' last series 2-0 at the start of 2020, with neither test lasting four days, nevermind five.
To rub salt in the wounds, the Blackcaps also knocked India out of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, winning by 18 runs in a two-day encounter in Manchester. All in all, the Blackcaps haven't lost to India in an ICC event since the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
But speaking ahead of Friday's opening day in Southampton, Southee says that New Zealand's recent wins mean nothing in the context of the World Test Championship final.
"It was a great series to be a part of, we played some pretty good cricket in our own conditions," Southee says.
"But I don't think we can read too much into that. It's a one-off test match, the final of the Test Championship in a neutral venue.
"That was a wee while ago. It was nice to play India in the cycle, and then obviously we get another chance in the coming week as well.
"I don't think you can read too much into it. It was a great couple of test matches to be a part of, but we know this is just a one-off.
"We need to turn up on Friday and give our best shot over the coming week."
The series win over England, New Zealand's first since 1999, does put the Blackcaps in good stead, with a number of players - Southee included - putting in impressive performances to build into Friday's final.
"We've had a great start to the tour. It's always great fun to come over to the UK and play over here.
"We've played two tests against England, which obviously has been pretty good for us. I think it's been a great preparation leading into this test final.
"We've had a number of guys that have had good performances throughout those two test matches.
"A couple of days' training today and tomorrow, and as you know, we're all looking forward to the ultimate goal of this tour.
One major concern though will come from the weather. Of the five, potentially six days, of the World Test Championship final, rain is forecast to fall.
And while a sixth day can be taken to secure a result, it seems likely that rain could prove to be a decisive factor in determining whether or not there's a winner.
But Southee knows that there's no point in the Blackcaps worrying about the weather.
"We've had two beautiful days in the lead up so far," Southee adds.
"I know there's a lot of rain forecast, but whether that hits us or not we don't know. We're trying to control the things we can control, and weather's not one of those things we can control.
"I guess we've just got to wait and see how the next few days pan out.
Should the World Test Championship be drawn, then both New Zealand and India will share the inaugural trophy.