Southampton, June 17 (IANS) India may not have played a Test match in England in the lead up to the World Test Championship final, unlike opponents New Zealand. They, however, surely have more experience of playing at the Hampshire Bowl here than their opponents.
India have featured in two Test matches in Southampton, both against England, and although they lost both of them, the experience could hold them in good stead against the Kiwis, who have not played a single match at the venue.
This is also the first time the two teams will face each other at a neutral venue. While New Zealand have an experience of playing in neutral venues, mostly against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, the Indians have never played a Test at a venue that is not home to either of the two contesting teams.
Overall, India have a superior record against New Zealand in Test cricket. The two teams have played 59 Test matches with India winning 21 and losing 12. But 16 of India’s wins have come at home, in 34 Tests. In New Zealand, India have lost 10 and won only five of the 25 Tests they have played.
The English conditions that suit swing bowlers and are similar to those in New Zealand could offer some help to the Kiwis. However, the spinners may also likely come into play since the wicket is expected to be drier than usual unless it rains.
As New Zealand pace bowler Tim Southee and India vice-captain pointed out on Wednesday it is a one-off Test, so both teams will have to be on guard all the time.