With no rain on Day 2, the most awaited match between India and New Zealand World Test Championship final (WTC) kicked off, Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson won the most crucial toss and elected to bowl first as the conditions in the first half are more suitable for the seamers.
After losing early wickets on day 2, Indian captain Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane stood strong till the end of the day’s play. The weather has been the most disturbing element in this historic game.
With a slight delay in starting on Day 3, players came on to the field hoping anything over 250 should be really good. With Rahane and Kohli at the crease overnight, at 146-3, you’d’ve thought India held the upper hand, but they came out with their buzzword missing – Intent.
India vs New Zealand Day 3:
Kohli departed first and took a review with him. Rahane took the bait and fell agonizingly to a half-hearted pull, Ashwin and Jadeja offered some resistance, but eventually, New Zealand’s attrition, discipline, and perseverance prevailed and they skittled out the tail. India could surely have had a bit more had Rahane and Pant not got out the way they did.
Big Kyle Jamieson turned the heat on, he got Kohli LBW with a nip-backer, then had Pant flashing at a wide one to be caught at slip because of New Zealand’s exemplary discipline. Jamieson becomes the first Kiwi bowler to get his fifth five-wicket-haul within his first 8 Tests. The men in blue bundled out for 217 in 92 overs. Kohli and remained the highest scorers from India.
It was now the Kiwis, who were eyeing for a big lead to win the WTC final. Tom Latham and Devon Conway opened the innings for New Zealand. They both gave a solid start and built a partnership. Latham and Conway have battled it out, run-scoring hasn’t been easy, but they didn’t look in too much trouble either before Shami came on. This is the first time since 2013 in Tests in England, openers from both teams have managed to survive the first 20 overs of their respective first innings.
Soon after the drinks break in the 34th over, Ravi Ashwin strikes the wicket of Tom Latham, Kohli takes a smart catch at short cover and they know how badly they wanted a wicket. This is probably the most floated ball that Ashwin had bowled so far in this game. It was now the skipper Kane Willamson who came on to bat with the man in form Convey.
They both were getting into the rhythm, but just before the end of the day’s play, pacer Ishant Sharma got the 2nd wicket, not exactly the traditional wicket ball, but India has got their man at the business Convey. A stunning catch by Shami brought Convey’s innings to an end.
With 101-2 on the board for the kiwis, it is the end of the day’s play due to bad light. With the quality of cricket, we saw today, especially after the early nerves were settled, it looks like the only thing standing in the way of a memorable Test is the weather. Hope it doesn’t spoil the fun tomorrow.