Indian cricketers attend a practice session ahead of the first Twenty20 match against England in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. AP
The World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand in June has been moved from Lord's to Southampton because of the pandemic, Indian cricket board chief Sourav Ganguly said.
The inaugural championship's final had long been planned for Lord's, known as the 'home of cricket', in London. But Ganguly told Indian media that Southampton's Ageas Bowl was preferred because the venue has a built-in hotel. The date of the final has not yet been announced.
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"I'm looking forward to attending the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand in Southampton," the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president said.
Sourav Ganguly speaks during a press conference at the BCCI headquarters. File
"It was decided long time ago. Due to Covid and they (in Southampton) have the hotel absolutely close," he told the India Today TV channel late on Monday.
"When England resumed play after Covid, they had a lot of matches in Southampton due to the same reason."
England played all their home Tests last year in biosecure 'bubble' conditions at Southampton and Manchester's Old Trafford ground, which also has hotel facilities.
The Test championship was initially launched in 2019 but had to be drastically changed after the coronavirus crisis erupted last year, forcing the cancellation of several tours.
India confirmed their place in the final last week by beating England 3-1 in their Test series.
Spinner Axar Patel took 11 wickets over two innings as India outplayed their rivals in all departments in the day-night game to take a 2-1 lead in the four match series.
India built a commanding lead of 249 after spinner Ravichandran Ashwin helped skittle England for 134 on day two of the second Test on Sunday. The hosts were 54 for one at stumps in Chennai with Rohit Sharma on 25 and Cheteshwar Pujara on seven.
Tourists, who face a daunting target of 482 to win, were struggling at 53 for three at stumps on the third day. Dan Lawrence, on 19, and skipper Joe Root, on two, will resume batting Tuesday on the turning pitch.
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India eventually dismissed Australia for 469 after lunch, fast bowler Siraj leading the way with 4-108. Smith had batted in relatively sedate fashion to reach 95 not out off 227 balls overnight while Head blazed his way to an unbeaten 146 off just 156 balls.