2.45pm: Play has been abandoned! Gough and the umpiring team have called it early, which is probably sensible, when you look at what France is sending across La Manche; come back again tomorrow morning and we'll try again. And don't forget to mark the reserve day in your calendars.
"I work about a 5 minute drive from the Ageas Bowl. It has been pouring away all day - not looking forward to my walk to the bus stop when I go back. I was so excited for this match too. Alas!" Hope you brought an umbrella, Kartik
"Hello, I am just 500 miles east in Frankfurt Germany and our barnacles are blistering in 35 degrees. Plenty of football fields vacant over here. Can the match be shifted this side of the Channel?" Depends, Anoop. Do any of those vacant football fields have a serviceable 22 yards down the middle?
"A quick google tells me we might need a reserve week or two rather than a reserve day…" warns Jack, ominously
Sibin sums it up: "Its raining everywhere, reporting from Kigali, Rwanda ( 6200 miles away from England ). Though its not the rainy season the nature gives exact feeling of Southampton ground to the cricket fans here."
2.30pm: "Mizzle is on," reports our weather correspondent, Nagraj Golapuddle. He's ably assisted by Andrew "Windy" Miller, of course. No word yet on whether Michael "Call it" Gough and Richard Piddling-worse are still planning to head out for an inspection at 3pm.
"I am at Calgary in Canada and the sun is shining here for the last couple of hours, no hint of rain! Our cricket season starts today, and I am very excited." Congrats, Avinash Iyer, and enjoy. They don't call it Canada Dry for nothing
"If I remember correctly there was an epic discussion during a rain-affected match way back in 2011. Don't remember which match it was though but it involved one of the commentators inviting applications for the commentator's post. Can you guys search for it and provide the link for it please?" I'm not even going to Google LMGTFY, Bhaskar. Nor am I going to invite applications for this job - because I'm quite happy doing it, thank you
2.20pm: Unlikely, I think, Karthik. Someone mentioned the 2015 Bangalore Test earlier, and my arrival in India that week coincided with four straight days without a ball being bowled.
"I'm in Maharashtra n here too raining full day from morning... in fact from last night." Did someone arrange a cricket match there, too, Anup?
"To all those complaining about the rain, use it as a chance to watch the talent that is Shefali Verma. World class." Indeed, Rohan. She's looking good again today, too
2.10pm West Indies and South Africa are about to play their second Test today, in St Lucia, where it's... wait for it... raining. What a day we're having.
Will Alan Gardner's return appease the weather gods? Let's find out.
2.00pm It's raining in Bristol too, which India won't mind, because they've lost Smriti Mandhana while following on. But it isn't much more than a drizzle, and the covers are coming off.
Meanwhile, back in Southampton, Naga tells me the umpires just went onto the field for an inspection. There will be another inspection at 3pm.
Anish: "@Nauroze.. i would be hypothetically cautious with that match report. The only time an indian took a hat-trick in the first 3 deliveries of the very first over.. India Lost the game. " -- Kamran Akmal played the CdG role, so to speak.
Rhys: "Why are NZ considered underdogs when they ought to be clear favourites? They've just beaten England in England, and thrashed India 18 months ago in swinging conditions. India have not only lost a Test at home, but have only won 2 Tests in England since their 2007 win. NZ should be clear favourites." -- Not sure about clear favourites, but yeah, I fully agree with you that they aren't underdogs. The David vs Goliath narrative has nothing to do with cricket at all.
1.45pm All the rain we've had might change these calculations somewhat, but what should the team winning the toss do? Sanjay Manjrekar and Dale Steyn weigh in.
Nauroze: "Since the day will most probably be washed out, can we please have a hypothetical report of the day to enjoy ? NZ wins the toss and elects to bat. Bumrah takes a hattrick in the first over before CDG blasts him for 6 sixes in his second. Would be epic."
Sundar: "So since only 2.5 hours of play can be made up on regular days, if the test loses 1 full day's play, i.e. 6 hours, will the 6th day be a full day or just for 3.5 hrs?" -- Good question. We think they'll make up for whatever time is lost, and not play an entire sixth day.
Brendan: "Why is it that India can change their team but NZ can't? Have they already announced their team?" -- India have announced their XI, but it isn't set in stone until they hand it over at the toss. New Zealand are yet to name an XI.
Ganesh: "Feel people are being too critical of the Indian spinners Ashwin and Jaddu are the prime reasons why we are in the finals. Also we need to remember this game has an additional day to make up for the lost overs hence the spinners will surely have a role to play and also the dampness assists the spinners as well who can forget the impact Ashwin had on the MCG game and exploiting the moisture as the first change bowler."
1.30pm The covers remain on in Southampton, but a Super Sopper is out and about. There's been no rain for around half an hour now.
Richard Kolapud: "@Rajat: With all due respect to the Indian spinners, I would have had Shardul Thakur as an option who is the closest to Bhuvi. Can swing the ball " -- He can, definitely, but he's a different kind of bowler to Bhuvneshwar, and doesn't offer the same kind of control.
John: "According to BBC weather the forecast looks good for the next two days, fingers crossed."
AshB: "Just out of curiosity, went don't they get done with the toss now? That way the moment the ground in ready, everyone is good to go instead of waiting another 30 mins" -- Both teams would want to know how much time there is in the game, and what the conditions will roughly be like, before they commit to a combination (India can still change theirs if they wish to) or a choice between batting or bowling first.
Rajat: "A real pity Bhuvi isn't at full fitness. His batting could've allowed him to slot in for one of the spinners" -- Yup, he would have given India a lot of flexibility, especially on these pitches. He hasn't played a first-class game since the Johannesburg Test in 2018, however.
1.15pm "It has been the driest phase since 1530 yesterday," says Nagraj Gollapudi, who's keeping a keen eye on the rain gauge he carries wherever he goes. "It is building anticipation for a half hour's play."
Meanwhile, the sixth day will officially kick in half an hour into the second session (1.40pm by my calculations), since only 2.5 hours of lost play can be made up on days 1-5.
Dean: "ICC should have had the guts to make this a timeless Test as a one-off!"
Akhil Kakkar: "Regarding rain affected Test matches, i remember India vs South Africa Test match in Bangalore in 2015. South Africa were bundled for 250 odd on Day 1 " -- One of the rare occasions when India chose to bowl after winning the toss in a home Test.
Phani: "@SidB easy to blame Kumble there without understanding the context.The same cricinfo also mentioned in the commentary that it was India's first win against Pakistan at home after 27 years plus Kumble's stint just started.It was not an era of WTC points either.Series win more important than ego win."
1pm: Some more lunchtime reading for you - ICC acting chief executive Geoff Allardice has been talking to Nagraj on the future shape of the international game. I'm going to slide off and refuel, too, in order to maintain my pace later in the day. Karthik will be back out to run a rope around in a bit
"Regarding rain affected test matches, what about India vs South Africa Joburg 1997?" suggests Mehneez Majeed. "A really heartbreaking end to what could have been a long awaited Test win on foreign soil."
SidB: "@Sumanth : We drew that match against Pakistan mainly because of Kumble's poor and defensive captaincy after being up 1-0 in the series, allowing Karthik to bat and bat into the 5th day so that he could score his half century and make the match safe for India. I still clearly remember Cricinfo's headline for that day's summary - 'Kumble the captain let down Kumble the bowler'!" Indeed it was, and by one of cricinfo's finest, George Binoy
"As a Melbournian and docklander I can confirm it's currently called Marvel Stadium, previously known as Docklands stadium, Telstra dome and lastly Etihad stadium." An important know-your-brands update, from Mamba
12.45pm: So, lunch it is at Southampton, and boy haven't we all earned our tucker today? As an extra treat over your vittles, I suggest you make a start on Andrew Fidel Fernando's New Zealand long read, on the rise of the neutral's favourites. Spoiler alert: they weren't always such "good guys".
"If the rain stops, how long it would take for groundsmen to clear the watery patches?" Depends on various factors, Atit Shah, but they'll probably need at least 60-90 minutes of clear weather in order to get the ground ready
Here's Jack on the roof question: "Docklands in Melbourne can be played 'indoors' but the pitches (for T20 matches) have been on the slow side. It's a bit quicker and friendlier for batters now but its not up to the rigors of Test cricket. It has host ODI's in the noughties when the MCG was not an option."
"Hey Alan.....England or Scotland? Tonite at Wembley." It's the big one, Vinod Rajpal. Or, at least, the auld one. Jack Grealish to do a Gazza and end up in the "dentist's chair"?
12.30pm: It is hammering down at my undisclosed location in green and, erm, pleasant England. But they are still defying the forecasts in the west country, where Anya Shrubsole has got in on the wicket-taking act, and India have been asked to follow on. Could be a corker of a Test boiling up there, particularly if Shafali Verma can produce something similar to yesterday.
It had stopped raining briefly in Southampton, by the way, but Nagraj Gollapudi confirms it is back with a vengeance now. Ho hum. He adds that lunch will be taken now, so feel free to go and find some other timepass and come back here in 40 mins
Sumanth Dathath: "The India-Pakistan 2007-08 Bangalore test match with rain and bad-light, and Kumble bowling seam-up after 25 years!"
"Indoor stadiums like the one in Melbourne (is it called the Docklands Stadium? - unsure about) can definitely save precious time that is lost to rain. ICC can start gradually like they have done with respect to day night (pink ball) test cricket. Of course huge (roof with proper lights) infrastructure can't be developed over night - but can't be ruled out too!!!" Yes, Sowmya, the Docklands - or the Marvel Stadium, or whatever it is currently - has a roof. But I'm suspicious of what covered stadiums, which necessarily don't allow a lot of light in, even with the roof open, would do for pitch quality
12.25pm: Woof! That is some way to start with the second new ball, as Katherine Brunt removes Pooja Vastrakar with a jaffa at Bristol, India nine down and still 17 away from saving the follow-on...
Deepak Saple: "When we are talking about Rain affected match first match that came in mind was AUS Vs NZ in Australia where Stiffen Fleming declares after avoiding follow on on fifth day. All of sudden match became interesting went up to wire." Good shout, Deepak. Shashank Kishore and Danyal Rasool put together a great feature about that game for the Cricket Monthly
"I know the 2000 Centurion Test gets remembered for all the wrong reasons, but from a pure cricketing perspective it was a pretty entertaining game after 3 days of rain." But can you ever look at that game from a "pure cricketing perspective", Mohit?
12.15pm: Rain-affected Test matches, y'say, KK? Can't seem to recall many... Hyuck, hyuck. I mean, from an England perspective, you can't go much further than the "Is it cowardly to pray for rain?" instalment of the 2005 Ashes - though England did a fair bit off their own back to get the draw they needed at The Oval. Personally, I might pluck out Bobby Peel's turn at the SCG in 1894, when the still-sozzled Yorkshireman declared he would "get t'boogers out" before lunch on a sticky dog - and did so. Unfairly, if understandably, the least-famous of the three Test wins after following on.
"Ind-Eng 2007 1st Test," suggests Divy. "Get out of jail and win the Test series."
And here's Vikas: "How about Ind vs Aus, 2018-19 in Sydney Test. India had a strong upper hand and the series could have been 3-1 for India. A huge margin for India as visiting team against Aussies..."
12.00pm What's your favourite rain-affected Test match? The one where the weather made a huge impact on either the result or the narrative of the game? I'll kick the discussion off with two Tests. India-Australia in Chennai, 2004, the entire fifth day washed out with the match poised on a knife's edge, and the 1968 Ashes Test at The Oval, where Derek Underwood bowled England to victory after the spectators joined the groundstaff to help clear the ground of water on the fifth day.
Alan Gardner's marking his run-up now. He'll splash his way in from the Pavilion End.
Bappa: "Rain and IND vs NZD match in England is a love affair. League match between them in WC 2019 washed out, semifinal had to run over two days. Now this."
11.45am Nine Tests, 26 wickets, an average of 30.46. Nothing particularly remarkable, but that's the best average of any New Zealand spin bowler with at least 20 wickets. It isn't easy being a spin bowler in New Zealand, but Ajaz Patel has found a way to make himself relevant.
Colin de Grandhomme, Ajaz Patel or Matt Henry? Who should be the last man for New Zealand? Have your say over at our Live Report
Shubham: "@KK: for perspective, I think the number of rain affected matches would be more relevant" -- Sure, but if you're getting results despite frequent rain breaks, then maybe we don't need to worry so much?
John: "The drainage at the English test grounds is amazing. Forecast to stop between 8 and 9 tonight. Plenty of time to dry out. "
11.30am How would Dale Steyn bowl to Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson? Find out from the man himself.
Tasmeem: "It's not about being the wettest, KK, but being the country with rainfall all around the year. Even though Bangladesh has heavier rainfall, you'll hardly see rain there barring the 3-4 months during the monsoon season. On the other hand, even though UK doesn't have that much heavier rainfall, it's heavy enough to wash out cricket matches and that too all year long." -- Okay, here's a bit of perspective. Thirty-two Test matches have been played in England in the last five years. Only four of them have been drawn.
Daniel: "Just seen the ground on TV and you could take your pet goldfish for a walk on that outfield. Surely even if the rain stops that will still be unplayable tomorrow?"
Nava: "They should wait till the finalists are decided before picking a venue. And the team at the top of the points table should play at home in a 3 match series. That way, 3 matches (at home for the team at the top) won't feel like too much. Gives a chance to the other finalist with three pots instead of a one-off, whilst also attributing value to finishing up top." -- Completely agree with this, but there's a lot of intrigue to a neutral venue too.
Anil Ravindran: "Either rain should be banned in England, or cricket should be." -- A bit despotic, but we understand how you feel.
11.15am Kohli vs Williamson aside, much of the build-up to this WTC final has focused on the two bowling attacks. And why not, because both are utterly brimming with world-class options. It's a global phenomenon; as Himanish Ganjoo shows in this essay, this has been a particularly difficult era of Test cricket to bat in.
Yash: "If you are going into stats, you should rather look at median daily rainfall rather than average. Many places have well behaved climate where it rains in a particular season, and median is mostly zero." -- Fair. Where does the UK rank by that measure?
Akhilesha: "The rain needs to move to Bristol as soon as possible." -- In more sobering news for India fans, Taniya Bhatia has fallen for a duck.
Navneet Kumar: "On Kohli downplaying the WTC Final and treating it as just another game - Well, all he is trying to manage the pressure and keep the team calm. One of the most important ingredient of winning is to stay in the moment. That helps you to keep the focus. You cannot and must not think too much other than reacting to the ball. That's how you break the big things into small things. All he is talking about process and not the result."
Bob Willis: "I live in the UK and I've got to say that it hasn't rained at all in the South of England for the past 6-7 weeks. I'm afraid to say this rain is just bad luck and pure timing. Such a shame to see."
Issac: "How about selecting a WTC XI for the season, since we have time to while away! Here's mine: Rohit, Elgar, Pujara, Labuschagne, Root, Stokes, Pant, Cummins, Ashwin, Holder, Boult." -- Pujara's an interesting choice. He averages under 30 during the WTC, but he's still played some truly defining knocks. I'd pick Williamson above him, though. And Southee and Wagner have outbowled Boult by quite a margin during this WTC.
Rafi: "Why did they choose the most wet country in the world for this all important final? Couldn't they manage it in any other country? My oh My " -- The wettest country in the world, incidentally, is Colombia (which receives an average 3240mm of precipitation per year). The UK, in comparison, receives an average of 1220mm. Oh, and the wettest Test nation is Bangladesh (2,666mm).
Carmelo Bryant: "Don't read too much on what Kohli says in press conference. Remember he downplayed the 2018-19 Aus-Ind series and after winning the series, he conceded that it was even bigger than 2011 WC win?"
AJ Naik: "Lest we forget that this is the last we will see of BJ Watling. Absolute stalwart of a bloke, represented what it meant to play for NZ as much as the captains he played under, if not more."
11.05am: Now it's getting dark, and the sky looks sticky, which means more rain talk, I'm afraid. Time for me to bring KK and his fresh fingers back on for a spell. Oh, and it gets worse, India fans - Harmanpreet Kaur has fallen to her first ball on day three in Bristol.
11am: Given we have a wee bit of time on our hands... let me point you in the direction of the Live Report, where Sid has been weighing in on the vexed topic of the WTC format. Oh, and if it's actual cricket you want, they're starting on time in the women's Test. Don't ask me about weather at the Ageas Bowl.
Ishan Raval: "Re. the gentleman's pact to go all gun's blazing, ie. have 6 bowlers, this should be India's lineup: Siraj, Bumrah, I Sharma, Shami, Kohli, R. Sharma, Rahane, Pant, Jadeja, Ashwin, Pujara. Dangle quick wickets in front of NZL but also have 4 nightwatchmen against new ball. Batsmen come in afterward, but Pujara at 11 so whichever batsman is set still has less pressure when they're 9-down." All of the bowling and a reversed batting order. The Don would approve
"In addition to the format of the WTC final being a 1 off test or otherwise, another crucial point is that the venue of the final should be decided after the qualification of finalists. How unjust would it have been if England was one of the finalists today! That would be totally unfair home advantage!" Well, yes, I take your point, Richard Wesley. But having watched England play Test cricket extensively over recent years, I don't think there was too much to worry about...
10.50am: Some good news, folks. It's not currently raining... in Bristol. Which isn't all that far from Southampton, at least in nautical terms (and those do seem to be the WTC final terms of engagement, sadly).
"Referring to what we all have gone through in the past months only one thing coming to my mind. Let the rain wash away all the pain and may tomorrow the sun rises with the Hope that this championship will see a champion. :)" Indeed, Mayank Sharma. Time to recite the Serenity Prayer and keep fingers crossed
"Not a fan of Kohli's (and to a lesser extent Ravi Shastri's) dismissive attitude towards the WTC," huffs Simon. "The final isn't necessarily about deciding who the best test team in the world is, just as the ODI world cup doesn't necessarily decide who the best limited overs team is. It's a tournament, and it's the nature of tournaments to be decided by a single game. The knowledge of that and the pressure that follows is what makes these occasions so exciting." So what I'm hearing is... this should be decided by a Super Over? How about that, Black Caps fans?
Here's Daniel: "A couple of other factors behind selecting the spinners are the pace at which they can get through their overs, important in a shortened match, and the fact NZ don't face high quality spinners very often." Very true. And, as KK's piece noted, Southampton is also one of the UK's spinningest venues
10.45am: Andrew Miller has been making good use of his downtime, thanks to the whizzy genius of smartphone camera editing:
10.35am: Talking of the balance of the XI (for both sides), you should definitely get involved with Karthik's deep dive (appropriate) on the bowling attacks on show. So rich and varied are the options that I'm secretly hoping Virat and Kane make a gentleman's agreement to go in all guns blazing - the opposite of a non-aggression pact, basically - in whatever time available and deploy six-man attacks.
"The fact that this is a winner takes all Test makes it more exciting," whoops Tommo. "A 3 match series would be great sure, but a 1 match final is a legitimate format. It's the same in the 50 over World Cup where the champions might not have had the best form. Makes it more dramatic."
"Can the Indian team change its eleven at the toss? It hasn't been officially picked, right? But then, the one who gets left out and the one who gets picked won't have the highest morale when push comes to shove the next time around." They can choose whichever team they want, Abhijato, right up to the point they give the sheet in to the match referee
"What is the problem in starting the game on 23rd? Both teams are free." Well, Siva, among other things there's the small matter of a T20I between England and Sri Lanka at the ground on June 26
10.20am: The sound of the weather gods gleefully emptying out their bath water has just increased out my window. Definitely no chance of a game in our back garden. In fact, I'm beginning to think I should have started work on the ark by now...
"Kohli doesn't want to show too much. NZ is doing the same. They are taking it as a game to keep away from the talk of the town. 1 game is surely not going to decide which is a better team but it will give us the champion for sure. But then this sort of planning with venue and weather, that's a bigger spoilsport than a player saying he/she is treating a marquee event as just another game." I hear you, Ashish. But this is life. So it goes
Devendra: "Good thing we did not host the WTC here in Iowa - we have a real gully washer going on right now - Lightning and all." Darn. I believe Des Moines was on the original shortlist
"I believe 2 spinners will be too much for India. If they believe their top order then don't need so much support in tail end. India can go with four seamers in Ishant, Shami, Bumrah and Siraj. Mind you all India pacers have long injury record and overseas they get injured quick. Siraj should be in the team. Bumrah is white-ball guy." A slightly confusing diatribe there, Chief Selector. Have you seen Bumrah bowl? But yes, if it's going to be this damp over the next
five six days, four quicks might make more sense
10.10am: For fear of ramping up the anticipation too much over the next 24 hours, let's hear what Virat really thinks about the "Ultimate Test":
"If you are talking about Test cricket and deciding who is the best Test team in the world on one game over a period of five days, that's not the reality of the truth," Kohli said on Thursday during the pre-match media briefing. "It is not going to reflect anything for people who really understand the game and know exactly what has gone on in the last four to five years and how the teams have fared. You can very well look back at history and focus on things that didn't go your way. At the end of the day you realise you play sport and you are going to be beaten and you are going to win on a particular day."
See, I told you he was a fan. I guess we'll just have to give the Test mace to whoever is No. 1 in the rankings. (Joking aside, I completely take his point... but c'mon, man, at least pretend to be a bit enthused.)
Here's Sam P: "Alan, will the women's game start on time. Really interesting that, with Shefali making big strides and the match poised nicely with India needing to do the hard work." Well, we await word from our gal on the ground, Valkerie Baynes - but the forecast isn't great. Our comms will be live soon, so keep an eye out there.
10am: Hello everyone. Well, who saw this coming...? It's wetter than Captain Nemo's goldfish bowl in the south of England currently, and the best thing you can do is make like a Black Cap, sort yourself a brew and pull up a pew. We could be doing this for some time. Luckily, it's double rainwatch bubble for you fine people, with Sid Monga doing his thang over on the Live Report, too.
Hey everyone, we have a winner! Gareth is our first of the day: "I know they invented the game, but surely England should be banned from hosting test matches." Your prize is a lifetime's supply of El Oh Els
9.50am Here's a rainy-day quiz for you, entirely WTC-themed. We have official news, by the way, that the toss is delayed, and that there will be no play before lunch.
On that note, I'll make way for the world champion of rain-break commentary, Alan Gardner.
Truptesh Joshi: "What happened if 1st day is washed out. With the reserve day follow-on margin would be reduced to 150 or stayed 200?!?!??" -- The reserve day will become the fifth day, so it'll remain 200. I think.
Guruprasad Sesh: "Although I am very eager to watch this finals, I believe that there should be no finals in the Test format. Just the home and away record of test playing teams over a period of 2-3 years should be good enough to decide the winner. One test for finals is too less, and three is too much. Besides, why bring in pressure as an added element when Test cricket has tested the teams much more over the 2-3 playing years?"
Vatsal: "Not to forget that playing Jadeja and Ashwin strengthens their batting. With India playing only 5 batsmen and Pant, they need Jadeja and Ashwin to bat deep."
9.40am For India and New Zealand, being in this WTC final is the culmination of long and fulfilling journeys over the last decade or so. Sidharth Monga goes into great depth to explore how India built the bench strength that is now the envy of the world, and Andrew Fidel Fernando traces the culture shift that accompanied New Zealand's climb from the depths of 45 all out.
Harry: "I am one hour from ground can tell you guys that no match is happening today. Good news next 5 days are slightly better so we will see cricket. I believe 3.5 days will be enough for result in this weather. Anyone winning the toss should bowl first (opposite to as suggested by experts :))"
Gurlivleen: "Would we see a repeat of Lord's 2018 for India? India making the same mistake of playing 2 spinners, while NZ is considering an all-pace attack? Siraj as 4th seamer would have been much more potent - who would you like to face as 2nd change, a spinner or a pacer in these conditions? Overcast conditions predicted for all 6 days." -- The pitch does tend to bring spin into play, though, and Ashwin and Jadeja are two of the best in the world.
Sumanth Ravipro: "One off test is a bit unfair to both the teams. Going forward it should be a 3 match series atleast to decide the worthy winner. With weather hogging the limelight in this final, ICC should consider a series instead of a match" -- That would be ideal, but will boards be willing to set aside a month's window in the calendar for a series that all but two of them won't take part in? The ICC's acting CEO Geoff Allardice doesn't think so.
9.32am And here are some pictures from just a few minutes ago.
Marco Murphy: "@Mustafa Moudi as an Australian, i actually have to fully disagree. get docked points from poor over rates is their own fault. they knew about the penalty and consequences right from the start, therefore they cant blame anyone but themselves for missing the final."
Daniel: "I'd say the weather makes an all-seam attack likely, but who will the seamers be? Henry has an absolutely outstanding record v India, but could they really leave out Southee or Wagner to fit him in?" -- I doubt they'd do that. I reckon it'll be Southee, Boult, Wagner and Jamieson if they go all-seam, with de Grandhomme in support.
Harsha: "A tournament that has lasted for two years, enduring Covid-19 (20,21?), change in regulations, 500 quarantines. To culminate here in a ultimate showdown of paper boat competition in English rain!! See you at the Gabba mate!!"
Mustafa Moudi : "Though its disappointing that Australia didnt make the Final just due the Points Docked due to Over-Rates, I feels it would have been unfair, had Aussies reached the Final. This is because, although the Percentage Method was Fair otherwise, it didnt consider the fact that Out of the Total 4 Series that they played, 3 were Home Series and Just 1 Away Series. So really happy that 2 Well Deserving Teams are playing this Final !!"
9.30am I'd linked to Martin Williamson's superbly researched and in-depth piece on the 1912 Triangular Tournament a little earlier, but I'm doing so again, because, well, eerie echoes:
"A soggy spring in 1912 was followed by one of the wettest summers since records began in 1766. In June, July and August, rainfall was more than double the annual average, and to add to the misery, August also went into the record books as the coldest, dullest and wettest month of the 20th century."
Jake L: "Everyone needs to relax! There is a reserve day, so the likely washout today is not the end of the world, still 5 potential days of play afterwards. Tomorrow we should get close to 98 overs in, and afterwards the forecast is only for showers. With a green pitch in these conditions, a result is very, very possible."
Heman: "Kohli overtakes Dhoni today on the number of Tests as captain for India!" -- Indeed.
9.20am The pitch and the square at the Ageas Bowl are all under covers, not so much the rest of the outfield, though that shouldn't be an issue since the drainage at most English grounds is top-notch.
Scott: "Sitting down in NZ to have breakfast (have put myself on UK time). Getting ready for a night of watching re-runs. Still optimistic we will get a result over the 6 days though! Win the toss and bowl for the kiwis with no spinner with this weather? "
RAJ: "What if the match is washed out ? Trophy be shared?" -- Yup. Here are the answers to all your FAQs.
9.15am The weather throws an entirely new variable into the mix of this WTC final, and if it remains cloudy over these next few days, New Zealand might be tempted to go with an all-seam attack. India, meanwhile, have already named their XI, with both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in their attack.
Let's get some of your comments in.
Shishank Dahiya: "Wanted to start with the fact that when India toured NZ last, only 4 Indian batsmen got 50s in the 2 Tests (Pujara, Shaw, Agarwal and Vihari) in tough conditions. Only 1 is playing this Test."
Arun: "It seems the weather forecast is better after 23rd June, can't you change the date ICC?"
Varun: "On behalf of every person that has watched cricket ever, Rain Gods, let there be light!"
Saad Shafqat : "What utter disappointment. It's been clear for a few days now this so-called ultimate Test will instead be the ultimate Washout. Anyone pretending otherwise just sounds daft. Question is, could this not have been planned any better? An international contest two years in the making and we pick a coastal town in the middle of the English summer. I mean, really. " -- Well, this wasn't the original venue, and unforeseen circumstances including a pandemic have come in the way, so I'd cut the ICC a bit of slack here.
9.00am It's been around for 144 years, and today, Test cricket will have its first (or second, if you count 1912) world final. The ride to get here has been bumpy and exhilarating, and in the months leading up to this moment the world has been plunged into one of its worst crises in living memory. For that and other reasons, this has been something of an imperfect tournament, but here we are now, waiting to watch two of the great teams of this era, and the greatest teams in the cricket histories of India and New Zealand, go head to head for the World Test Championship. Southampton is the venue, and we cannot wait.
But we may just have to, thanks, appropriately enough, to Test cricket's oldest acquaintance, the weather.