• Kohli calls for World Test final to be played over three matches

    Virat Kohli maintains future editions of the World Test Championship final should be played as a three-match series after his India side were beaten by New Zealand in the inaugural showpiece match at Southampton on Wednesday.

    New Zealand triumphed by eight wickets in a final extended to a sixth day after two days were completely washed out.

    The Black Caps, claiming a first major world title, chased down a modest target of 139 after their impressive pace attack restricted India to 170 in their second innings.

    India captain Kohli, twice dismissed in the final by Royal Challenge Bangalore teammate and towering New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson, the player of the match following a seven-wicket haul, insisted his comments were made “not because we’re not on the winning side”, but with the aim of creating an “absolutely memorable” saga.

    While congratulating New Zealand on their victory, star batsman Kohli added: “I think it has to happen over a period of three games minimum. It has to be a test of character over three Tests … [that] will be a good measure of how things really are.”

    India, who will remain in England for a five-Test series against Joe Root’s men starting in August, recently won 3-1 at home to England after coming from behind to complete a stunning series win away to Australia earlier this year.

    “We are not too bothered by this result because we understand as a Test side what we’ve done over the last three or four years, not just over the last 18 months,” said Kohli. “This is not a measure of who we are as a team.”

    New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, having experienced the pain of defeat in two successive 50-over World Cup finals, with a 2015 thrashing by co-hosts Australia followed by an agonising Super Over loss to England at Lord’s two years ago, unsurprisingly took a different view.

    “I suppose the exciting part to finals is that anything can happen,” said Williamson, who steered New Zealand home with an unbeaten 52 to follow his first-innings 49.

    “We know how fickle cricket is,” added Williamson, who shared an unbroken partnership  of 96 with fellow senior batsman Ross Taylor (47 not out).

    “The one-off factor does bring a unique dynamic, which does make it exciting. We’ve been on all different sides of that statement.”

    Scheduling a final two years in the making was difficult enough for the International Cricket Council, given the vast number of bilateral matches arranged by leading cricket countries rather than the global governing body.

    “I guess the challenge would be scheduling that [final] series among a lot of cricket that’s already on,” said Williamson, who accepted a longer series would be more “revealing”.

    Nevertheless, Williamson said there was no doubting both finalists’ commitment to this match.

    “The first time that there’s been this competition on and both teams were fully geared for the game, and it was a brilliant game of cricket,” he said.

    © Agence France-Presse

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    Craig Lewis