World Test Championship final: Virat Kohli leads India's fight against Blackcaps as bad light ruins day two

India have claimed a moral victory over the Blackcaps on another shortened day of the World Test Championship final at Southampton's Ageas Bowl, finishing at 146/3.

Having won the toss and chosen to bowl first, the Blackcaps had their opposition in trouble at 88/3, before an unbeaten partnership of 58 runs between captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane swung the day's play back in India's favour.

But after day one was abandoned due to rain, the weather again had the final say, as dark clouds over Southampton brought about the end of play due to bad light, with just 64.4 overs bowled.

The Blackcaps will be disappointed at only being able to take three wickets on day two, with no guarantee of the same bowler-friendly conditions for the rest of India's first innings into day three.

Kohli reached the close of play unbeaten with an impressive 44 runs in bowler-friendly conditions, while Rahane looked just as composed in his knock of 29 not out.

Earlier, the Blackcaps claimed the first scalp as captain Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bowl first on a green pitch under grey skies.

New Zealand opted for Colin de Grandhomme as their all-rounder and fifth bowler, ahead of the left-arm spin of Ajaz Patel to give the Blackcaps a five-pronged seam attack.

India meanwhile kept the faith with the same XI that they'd named two days out from the start of play.

Despite bowling first in favourable conditions though, the Blackcaps couldn't make the start they'd have hoped for.

India's opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill were watchful under grey Southampton skies, and blunted the new ball burst from Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

The Indian openers added a fifty run partnership in 103 balls, as the Blackcaps perhaps tried too hard to extract movement through the air.

But into the second hour of the morning, the Blackcaps struck as Kyle Jamieson had Rohit caught at slip by Tim Southee for 34, breaking the opening stand at 62/1. 

Four overs later, Gill fell for 28 edging Neil Wagner behind to BJ Watling behind the stumps. From 62/0, India had wobbled to 63/2.

But Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara batted India through to the end of the first session with no further loss, reaching lunch at 69/2.

Resuming in the afternoon session, the Blackcaps struck again through Boult - who trapped Pujara lbw for eight, swinging the ball back into the right hander.

At 88/3, Rahane joined Kohli, with the pair watchfully seeing their side through to tea at 120/3, as dark clouds brought the afternoon session to a close due to bad light.

The players did return briefly for the start of the evening session, but only 14 runs were scored before more bad light forced a halt in play again at 134/3.

Another short passage of play had India move onto 146/3, before one last stoppage saw play called off for good.

Kohli was undoubtedly the winner of day two, putting away his aggressive instincts to walk off with 44 from 124 balls, with just one boundary - a perfect cover drive off the bowling of Neil Wagner to get off the mark.

At the other end, Rahane is 29 not out from 79 balls, having hit four fours.

For New Zealand, the honours were shared with the ball, as Trent Boult (1/32), Kyle Jamieson (1/14) and  Wagner (1/28) all took one wicket each.

The amount of time lost over the first two days will see the World Test Championship final played into a sixth day, in order to make up the required overs in the search for a result.

But should weather and light continue to interrupt play, both New Zealand and India will share the trophy come stumps on the final day.

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