Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl to host World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand
Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl will stage the World Test Championship final this summer - only the seventh Test ever played at the stadium.
Sourav Ganguly - the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India - confirmed the West End venue will host the showpiece event from June 18-22.
Sadly, fans are unlikely to be allowed in for most of the game, if not all of it; under the current Government roadmap out of lockdown, spectators are not allowed back into sports stadiums until June 21.
Initially, the final - between India and New Zealand - was supposed to be held at Lord's. But The Ageas Bowl, with its Hilton Hotel inside the stadium, is easier for Qualifying for the first World Test Championship final started after the World Cup in 2019, running from August 1, with the Ashes series, to England’s recent series in India.
India topped the qualifying table after coming from behind to beat England 3-1 at home - their fifth series win out of six.
India had maximum points after seven games, beating the West Indies 2-0 away, South Africa 3-0 at home and Bangladesh 2-0 at home in 2019.
They lost 2-0 in New Zealand in early 2020 before coming from behind to win 2-1 in Australia earlier this year - a superb achievement after they had been skittled for 36 in the first Test.
New Zealand were the first team to qualify for the final, though they only won one of their opening five WTC Tests - drawing 1-1 with Sri Lanka before being thrashed 3-0 in Australia.
They hit back to win their next six Tests, though - beating India, West Indies and Pakistan 2-0 on home soil.
Their overall points percentage of 70 was just 0.8 better than Australia, who played one less series than the Kiwis’ five but still won more Tests (eight to New Zealand’s seven).
Opened in 2001, The Ageas Bowl staged its first Test in 2011 when England faced Sri Lanka.
It welcomed India for Tests in 2014 and 2018 before staging three last summer when it was used as one of two bio-secure venues - along with Old Trafford - to host all of England’s summer internationals across all three formats.
England played West Indies once and Pakistan twice in 2000 in Tests.
New Zealand have only ever played one international at The Ageas Bowl - winning a high scoring ODI in 2015 helped by centuries from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.
The WTC final will be one of two major internationals at the ground in June – England are hosting Sri Lanka in a T20 international on June 26.