Wire Service
3 minute read
23 Jun 2021
8:56 am

Fans ejected from Test final for abusing NZ players


With a maximum of 98 overs to play on Wednesday's reserve sixth day, the odds remain in favour of a draw.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson leads his team off the field on day five of the World Test Championship final against India. Picture: Getty Images

Two spectators were ejected during the World Test Championship final on Tuesday for abusing New Zealand players as they took on India in the showpiece match at Southampton.

A lively crowd made up of largely India fans added to the intensity, with their chants in support of Virat Kohli’s side ringing round Hampshire’s headquarters during the fifth day.

But there was an unsavoury incident, with a spokesperson for the International Cricket Council, the sport’s global governing body, saying after stumps: “We received reports of abuse directed at the New Zealand players.

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“Our security team were able to identify the culprits and they were ejected from the ground. We will not tolerate any sort of abusive behaviour in cricket.”

New Zealand’s Tim Southee, asked about the incident in a post-play news conference, said: “It’s the first I’ve heard of it.

“The game is always played in a good spirit on the field.”

Meanwhile, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin said he would happily play on until there was a winner in a match where two entire days’ play have been washed out without a ball bowled.

The weather, allied to resolute, if unspectacular, batting in conditions that have favoured pace bowlers throughout, would normally have meant this match ending in a draw given a standard men’s Test lasts a maximum of five days.

But with this showpiece fixture the culmination of two years’ worth of series, the ICC included a special provision for a reserve day in the hope of giving the game every chance to crown Test cricket’s first official world champions.

With a maximum of 98 overs to play on Wednesday, the odds remain in favour of a draw.

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India will resume on 64-2 in their second innings — a lead of 32 runs — after Southee removed openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma late on Tuesday to finish with stumps figures of 2-17 in nine overs.

Star batsman Kohli is eight not out, with Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 12.

New Zealand themselves led by 32 on first innings after making 249 in reply to India’s 217, with captain Kane Williamson contributing a painstaking 49 on Tuesday.

“There is a prize up for grabs, but nobody can control the weather,” Ashwin told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.

“It would be nice if the game kept extending and we played to a finish but I don’t think there is scope for that,” added the off-spinner, who took 2-28 in 15 economical overs.

“The game is pretty well poised but with some more time it would be better.

“If we can get the runs going we’re set up for a good finish.”

The last ‘timeless’ match in international cricket was the fifth Test between South Africa and England at Durban in March 1939.

After nine days of play spread over 12 days, the concluding match of the series was eventually abandoned as a draw so England could avoid missing their boat home.