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PIX: India in battle for survival after Southee strikes

Last updated on: June 23, 2021 00:25 IST
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Images from Day 5 of the ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, at The Hampshire Bowl, in Southampton, on Tuesday.

New Zealand pacer Tim Southee celebrates dismissing India opener Shubman Gill in the second innings on Day 5 of the rain-hit World Test Championship final, in Southampton, on Tuesday.

IMAGE: New Zealand pacer Tim Southee celebrates dismissing India opener Shubman Gill in the second innings on Day 5 of the rain-hit World Test Championship final, in Southampton, on Tuesday. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Mohammed Shami stole the limelight, bringing India back in the contest with some incisive swing bowling, before New Zealand ended Day 5 with a flourish by dismissing both the openers, as the World Test Championship final headed for an engrossing 'sixth' and final day, at The Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, on Tuesday.

 

If Shami hauled India back with four-wicket haul to dismiss New Zealand for 249 in their first innings, Tim Southee (2-17) did the damage for New Zealand when India batted again.

Rohit Sharma (30), after toiling for 81 deliveries, erred in judgement while trying to leave a Southee (2-17) in-swinger and was trapped plumb in front in the second innings.

Shubman Gill (8), the other opener, also perished to Southee leg before, leaving India at 64 for 2, a lead of 32 runs, at close of play.

Tim Southee celebrates taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma.

IMAGE: Tim Southee celebrates with his teammates after taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

With a full day's play expected on Wednesday, India will be hoping to bat at least a session-and-half to put themselves in safe position before giving New Zealand 50-odd overs and a 200-plus target to enforce a result.

New Zealand certainly go into the final day as favourites to lift the WTC mace, courtesy Southee's late evening spell.

A draw looks more of a practical possibility due to all the time that has been lost due to inclement weather, though a superb batting effort from skipper Virat Kohli (batting 8) and Cheteshwar Pujara (batting 12), or an inexplicable batting collapse, like in Adelaide, could certainly make things interesting during the business end of the marquee clash.

But the fifth day's play certainly belonged to the most talented Indian swing bowler in contemporary times -- Shami.

His artistry was on full display as he singlehandedly brought India back in the match during the first session at a time when New Zealand had control over the proceedings.

The 32-run lead that they got was largely due to efforts of Kyle Jamieson (21) and Tim Southee (30), who threw their bats around to put the pressure back on India, going into the final session of the day.

Morning session

India pacer Mohammed Shami celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's BJ Watling during Day 5 of the World Test Championship Final, at The Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, on Tuesday.

IMAGE: India pacer Mohammed Shami celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's B J Watling. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Earlier, Shami delivered a rousing morning spell to put India in the driver's seat at lunch.

New Zealand's defensive approach failed badly as India’s marauding pacers had them struggling at 135 for 5 at the first break.

Shami (18-8-31-2) found the ideal fuller 'English length' right away while Ishant Sharma (20-9-27-2), coming in for his second spell, was also penetrative as the two senior pacers bowled a probing line to keep the New Zealand batters on tenterhooks.

Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of Ross Taylor

IMAGE: India captain Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of Ross Taylor with teammates. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Kane Williamson's men could add only 34 runs in 23 overs in the first session after a drizzle caused a delayed start.

The stylish Williamson (19 batting, 112 balls) was forced to show his defensive facet, respecting the bowling as well as conditions with only seven runs added to his third day's score of 12 not out.

The fourth day was washed out.

Ross Taylor (11, 37 balls) was dismissed, as Shami reaped the rewards for finding the fuller length, which enticed the batsman to go for a drive. Shubman Gill, at short cover, took a brilliant diving catch.

Ishant Sharma celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Henry Nicholls

IMAGE: Ishant Sharma celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Henry Nicholls. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Ishant then had the normally dependable Henry Nicholls (7), who went for a 'fishing expedition'. The lanky speedster pushed his length fuller by a yard and the edge was taken by Rohit Sharma at second slip.

BJ Watling (1), in his last Test, got a delivery that would have put the best in the business in trouble.

Shami, who by then had started bossing over the batsmen, bowled one that looked like shaping in but held its line after pitching and clipped the off-bail in the process.

From 117 for 2, New Zealand were reeling at 135 for 5 in no time.

However, the disappointment of the morning session was Jasprit Bumrah, who bowled short and wide, prompting former England captain Nasser Hussain to say they were "pretty balls" that don't yield results.

Kane Williamson bats on Day 5

IMAGE: Kane Williamson bats on Day 5. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

The moment Virat Kohli replaced Bumrah with Shami, things changed drastically as the senior pacer sowed doubts in the batters' minds.

He did not look to make the batsmen play and Williamson was seen doing a "Cheteshwar Pujara", leaving delivery after delivery.

His first four of the morning came in the 20th over of the day (69th for the day), a clip off Bumrah to the mid-wicket boundary.

What Shami and Ishant did was to hit the six-metre length (good length) which did the trick for the Indians.

Earlier, play got underway at Southampton after the start was delayed by an hour because of rain. 91 overs will be bowled in the day if there are no further rain interruptions

Post-Lunch session

India pacer Mohammed Shami celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Colin De Grandhomme  with skipper Virat Kohli during Day 5 of the World Test Championship final.

IMAGE: India pacer Mohammed Shami celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Colin De Grandhomme with skipper Virat Kohli during Day 5 of the World Test Championship final, at The Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, on Tuesday. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Mohammed Shami was at his devastating best, bagging four wickets for 76 runs, but New Zealand still gained a 32-run first innings lead after scoring 249 in their first innings on Day 5 of the rain-hit World Test Championship final, in Southampton, on Tuesday.

More than the quantum of the first innings lead, the Kiwis will go into the second innings with a psychological advantage, knowing very well that they have a pace attack that can go for the kill on the final day to force a result.

Jasprit Bumrah takes the catch to dismiss Kyle Jamieson

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah takes the catch to dismiss Kyle Jamieson. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

New Zealand showed more intent on keeping the scoreboard ticking, with Kyle Jamieson (21) and Tim Southee (30) throwing their bats around for useful runs which certainly put the pressure back on India going into the final session of the day.

The tea break was called after the fall of the last New Zealand wicket.

Shami, after a mesmerizing morning spell, took two more wickets in the post-lunch session, dismissing Colin de Grandhomme, with a delivery that angled in, and Jamieson, with a bouncer.

Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after taking a catch to dismiss Kane Williamson

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after taking the catch to dismiss Kane Williamson. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

In the final 30 minutes, Ishant Sharma (3/48), India's senior-most player, denied Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson (49) a half-century with a classic Test match dismissal. His delivery reared up, veered away and edge from the batsman was taken by Virat Kohli at third slip.

Sensing that mere survival would spell doom, New Zealand scored 114 runs in the post-lunch session even as Shami and Ishant bowled their hearts out.

Jamieson and New Zealand's all-time third highest six-hitter Southee got some easy runs at the end which could prove useful in the final context.

It was fitting that Shami led the team off the field. Ishant bagged three wickets for 48 runs, while Ashwin took 2 for 28.

The last four New Zealand wickets put on 87 runs after they were reduced to 162 for 6 at one stage.

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