Apart from Virat Kohli’s return and Ajinkya Rahane’s spot in the XI, the weather in Mumbai remains as one of the most talked about topics ahead of the India vs New Zealand series-deciding second Test match at Wankhede Stadium. There has been rain for the last two days in the lead up to the Test match and Friday promises no different. India and New Zealand’s training sessions were washed out due to rain on Wednesday while the Indian team trained indoors on Thursday. The pitch remained under covers as rain continued to dampen the spirits till the evening.
The weather forecast for Friday morning is not promising at all. According to AccuWeather, there is more than 40% chance of rain from 7 AM which increases to more than 50% around 9 AM in the morning, exactly when the toss is scheduled to take place for the second Test.
Considering that the pitch has barely got any sunlight in the last two days and the weather forecasts for Friday, an on-time start looks unlikely.
The weather promises to improve a lot as the day progresses with the chances of rain coming down to about 19% around 11 am. But the worrying factor is that the rain threat is likely to loom large throughout the entire day with chances of very little or no play at all.
If it rains on Friday morning, the toss will become extremely crucial as both teams would know that the damp pitch might offer something extra to the bowlers who hit the deck hard.
India captain Virat Kohli, who is making a comeback to the side after missing the first Test, did say that the weather might influence team selection.
“There is a weather change and we have to keep that into account and pick the combination accordingly,” Kohli said on the eve of the match, hinting that the three-spinner strategy could be revised for this game.
It could pave the way for Mohammed Siraj’s inclusion in the playing XI.
“At the end of the day, you cannot assume weather conditions will remain like this over the five days.
“So, we need to see what bowling combination should be picked that can tackle in different conditions. If we reach a common understanding and if everyone agrees, we go in with that combination,” Kohli said.
While New Zealand’s Tim Southee didn’t give a definitive answer but it seemed that conditions in Mumbai warrant Neil Wagner’s presence in the playing XI for the second Test at Wankhede.
Asked how much of a help it will be for the pacers with pitch under cover due to heavy rain, Southee said: “That’s something we don’t know too much about. We’ll have to wait to know about it till we are up there.
“That’s something we have to adapt to. You try and assess the conditions as quickly as you can. With the covers on, it may offer more swing but who knows,” he said.
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