|Inde 146-3 (Kohli 44*, Rohit 34; Jamieson 1-14)|
|New Zealand: Still to beat|
Indian captain Virat Kohli held New Zealand at bay, but more inclement weather marred the second day of the World Trials final in Southampton.
After all of day one was swept away, only 64.4 overs were possible on day two, with India ending 146-3.
Batted in bleak, bowl-friendly conditions, forerunners Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill got off to a flying start, eventually dropping quickly to 32 and 28 respectively.
India were 88-3 when Cheteshwar Pujara sidelined Trent Boult, but Kohli held on against the Black Caps’ full offense with a vigilant 44 on 124 balls.
Kohli, encouraged by a small crowd but strongly in favor of his team, continued for two stops for poor light, but a third at 4:50 p.m. BST, and the rain that followed, prevented play from continuing.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane accompanied Kohli to the end with a 29 wider stride.
The frustrations of the weather interruptions are at least counterbalanced by the option of a sixth day reserve for this flagship final.
The winners will be crowned the first test world champions but if no result is possible, the two teams will be named co-winners.
Beginning of the fight against India
As the crowd of around 3,000 booed, Kohli left the pitch satisfied with his team’s performance.
India could have easily folded given the conditions and the fact that this was their first competitive day of cricket on the tour, which also includes five tests against England, while New Zealand are hardened by his series victory over Joe Root.
The Black Caps started off slightly temperamental and Rohit and Gill capitalized. Rohit timed the ball to the offside limit in his typical, graceful style while Gill broke the wicket-square and floor limits.
New Zealand, however, has improved rapidly.
Tim Southee, the most guilty bowler at the start, pulled off a nice low catch by diving to his right on the third slip as miser Kyle Jamieson dismissed Rohit. Neil Wagner, selected against spinner Ajaz Patel, was caught by Gill with his third ball, leaving the score 63-2.
From there, New Zealand pressed. Pujara took 51 minutes to slow down and when he did it resulted in one of the loudest cheers of the day.
Kohli beat on his own, hitting just a four in his two-hour stroke. His most concerning moment came during a puzzling incident when on the 17th he appeared to be caught on the side of Boult’s leg.
New Zealand appealed and, after failing to render an initial ruling, referee Richard Illingworth gave a soft put-out signal and asked to verify that the hold was taken properly by wicket keeper BJ Watling .
Replays showed Watling comfortably grabbed the ball, but Ultra Edge confirmed Kohli missed the ball and is able to continue.
“India should be given the day” – reaction
Jonathan Agnew, BBC Cricket Correspondent: “The cricket we had was fascinating. We just didn’t have enough. Kohli played very carefully. “
Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney: “India should be given the day. By winning the raffle you would want more than three wickets. Races on the board will count. We will find wickets falling in clumps at some point in the game.
“New Zealand was temperamental in the first hour. Well done to India for taking advantage of this. Kohli and Rahane hit very well indeed. “
New Zealand bowler Kyle Jamieson: “It’s probably pretty even now. The disruption probably didn’t help some of the momentum we were trying to get.
“They played really well, put away the wrong balls and were patient on the outside. We were able to keep things relatively small and grab three big wickets. “