Cricket-New Zealand lose Williamson, India also suffer injury blows

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Test - England v India - Headingley, Leeds, Britain - August 25, 2021 India's Virat Kohli before start of play. Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

MUMBAI (Reuters) -India and New Zealand were both dealt big injury blows before the start of the second and final test at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday with the touring side losing captain Kane Williamson to an elbow problem.

The hosts have lost Ajinkya Rahane, who led the side in Kanpur in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

"Ajinkya Rahane sustained a minor left hamstring strain while fielding on the final day of the first test match in Kanpur," the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said in a statement.

Ishant had dislocated his left little finger while Jadeja suffered a right forearm injury in Kanpur, the BCCI added.

Kohli will return to lead the hosts.

New Zealand will be led by opening batter Tom Latham after Williamson was forced to sit out due to the left-elbow injury which has troubled him for much of 2021.

"It's been a really tough time for Kane having to deal with such a persistent injury," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said.

"While we've been able to manage the injury through the year and the T20 World Cup, the shift to test cricket and the increased batting loading has re-aggravated his elbow."

Stead said Williamson would need a "sustained period of rest followed by rehabilitation, strengthening and gradual batting loading".

The start of play was delayed due to a wet outfield after Mumbai received unseasonal rain during the last two days, forcing the players to skip outdoor practice ahead of the match.

While the sun was out there were still wet patches on the outfield, forcing the toss to be delayed.

The BCCI said the toss would be held at 11:30 local time (0600 GMT) with play to start 30 minutes later, effectively wiping out the first session of the match.

The opening test ended in a thrilling draw, with New Zealand's last batting pair hanging on in the final session to deny the hosts a victory.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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