India has a lead of 32 runs and 8 wickets heading into the last day.
After starting from behind on day five of the ICC World Test Championship final, India would be slightly happy with where they are at stumps. India managed to bowl out the New Zealand team for 249, courtesy of Mohammad Shami’s four-for and Ishant Sharma’s three-for. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picked up two and one scalps respectively.
For New Zealand, the highlights with the bat were Kane Williamson (49), Tim Southee (30), and Kyle Jamieson (21). With a handy lead of 32 runs, the Blackcaps bowled 30 overs in India’s second innings. Rohit Sharma scored an impressive 30 to take India to 64 for 2 at the end of the day’s play. For the last day, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will come out again.
Here are three talking points of day five:
1. Mohammad Shami’s spell
When India bowled 49 overs on day three, Shami looked the best bowler in the attack. He produced false shots and troubled the batsmen with his length. However, he didn’t pick up a wicket. A stat was shown which revealed that his record isn’t good in England and the commentators kept saying that he has to pitch the ball a bit fuller to get rewards.
On Tuesday, the length was fuller. There were rewards, not one, but three. Shami got Ross Taylor to drive and got him caught out at mid-off. Next in line was BJ Watling, who played all around an absolute peach of a delivery. Then, he got Colin de Grandhomme with a ball which pitched and came back in. His last scalp was that of Kyle Jamieson, with a short-pitched ball. Shami did what he does the best, changing the momentum of the game, only this time it was in England.
2. New Zealand’s tailend batting
When India lost their sixth wicket in their innings, the score was 182. They finished at 217. New Zealand lost their sixth wicket when their score was 162. Yet, they managed to stretch their total to 249. The fact that Kane Williamson was at the crease till New Zealand had a four-run lead did help them a lot.
However, it was Kyle Jamieson at no. 8 and Tim Southee at no. 9, who collectively got 51 runs from 62 balls. In low-scoring matches such as this, these sorts of knocks can have a huge impact. It not only corrected the ever-slow run rate of New Zealand but also added runs which might come in handy in deciding the result of this game.
3. Tim Southee’s three-quarter ball
When India came out to bat in the second innings, they had more than 30 overs to make something happen in the last session of the day. Batting conditions were quite good and New Zealand needed to get early wickets or ensure that India didn’t get ahead with runs. Tim Southee did both and in style with the ball which he developed recently. Both Rohit and Shubman Gill failed to pick a similar incoming delivery.
After years of struggling and failing to develop a classic inswinger, Southee worked on his game to develop an alternative, the three-quarter ball. It is not like a classic inswing ball and just about nips back or goes straight at the batsmen. Southee, who is almost an outswing specialist, used this variation perfectly, setting up the batsmen and then delivering the variation. He ended the day with figures of 2 for 17 in nine overs.