Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane give India strong start against New Zealand in World Test Championship final
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane guided India to 146-3 after they were put in to bat by New Zealand in the World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl; watch day three live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Sunday
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 19/06/21 9:18pm
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane shared an unbroken partnership of 58 to give India a solid base in their delayed World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
India captain Kohli batted three hours for his undefeated 44, with Rahane alongside him on 29 not out to steer their side to 146-3 during a stop-start second day at the Ageas Bowl.
The entire first day's play had been washed out and, with plenty of cloud cover, it was no surprise Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson opted to bowl after winning the toss.
With spinner Ajaz Patel omitted, New Zealand put their faith in an all-seam attack, but they failed to fire early on as Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill put together an opening stand of 62.
Rohit (34) looked strong outside off stump, chopping Tim Southee for two boundaries while Gill (28) also found his rhythm as the pair scored freely during the first hour.
Kyle Jamieson, who conceded just 14 in as many overs, provided the consistency Southee and Trent Boult had lacked as he successfully stemmed the flow of runs.
The tall paceman made the breakthrough when he lured Rohit into an edge that Southee clasped at third slip, diving away to hold on just above the turf.
Gill followed soon afterwards, gliding Neil Wagner into the gloves of BJ Watling, which prompted Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli to embark on a period of retrenchment either side of the lunch interval.
Pujara was in particularly obdurate mood, taking more than 50 minutes to get off the mark - although he eventually did so with a masterful cut shot off Wagner through gully for four.
Wagner's next delivery received similar treatment and the bowler responded with a short ball that reared up and hit Pujara on the helmet as he attempted to pull, sending a section of his protective equipment flying.
Fortunately the batsman was unhurt by the blow, but he was soon back in the dressing-room anyway after Boult returned to the attack and nipped the second ball of his spell back to pin Pujara leg before.
However, Kohli looked assured, soaking up the pressure but with also preventing India from becoming bogged down with his clever placement and quick running between the wickets.
The captain found a staunch ally in Rahane, who struck a series of boundaries - including a classy pull off Southee that brought up their 50 partnership shortly after the tea interval.
That landmark arrived during a brief passage of play, with darkening clouds prompting the umpires to suspend the match for bad light on three separate occasions before play was eventually abandoned for the day just after 6pm.
Watch day three of the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand on Sunday from 10am, live on Sky Sports Cricket.