A few days left before the start of the World Test Championship (WTC) final, the Indian batting unit looks better and more experienced than its New Zealand counterpart. While the Indian side has as many as five batsmen among the top 15 top scorers in the tournament, the kiwis have none.
In the last few games that India played, the lower middle order has performed exceptionally. Australia tour is the best example for it, the way players like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari, and Rishab Pant took their team to a historic win depicts the strength of the Indian batting line-up. While the men in blue have as many as five batsmen among the top 15 top scorers in the tournament, the kiwis have none.
India vs New Zealand:
New Zealand’s batting mainstay, skipper Kane Williamson, is the highest placed, at 16th in the list with 817 runs. Part of the reason why he is so low in the run-getters list is that he has played just 9 matches as against the Indians above him in the list who have played many more games.
Cheteshwar Pujara (818 runs in 12 matches at an average of 29.21), Mayank Agarwal (857 in 12 by at 42.85), Virat Kohli (877 in 14 at 43.85), Rohit Sharma (1030 in 11 at 64.37), and Ajinkya Rahane (1095 in 17 at 43.8) are all above Williamson. However, barring Sharma, no Indian has been able to match the Williamsons batting average. Spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, lower down in the list with 469 runs in 10 matches, too has a better average (58.62) than the kiwi skipper.
Apart from Williamson, the rest of the Kiwi batsmen have been unspectacular. Left-handed opener Tom Latham has scored 680 runs in 11 matches at 40.00, Henry Nicholls has 585 runs in 10 matches at 41.78 while Ross Taylor has 469 in 11 matches at 31.26.
Wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling has 417 runs in 10 matches at 29.78. As many as eight Indians have scored over 400 runs in WTC and all of them except one are averaging above 30. Only Cheteshwar Pujara averages below 30. And six Kiwis have scored over 400 runs and five of these are averaging above 30.
After completing a mandatory quarantine in England, recently the men in blue played an intra-squad match, Rishab pant smashed a magnificent ton and opener Shubhman Gill played an innings of 85 runs at the top. Pacer Ishant Sharma was seen using the conditions in his favor as he took 3 wickets out there in the middle.
India has not played a single Test in England during the WTC campaign and it remains to be seen how they adjust to the Southampton pitch in the early part of the summer that supposedly helps the swing bowlers.