Brief Scores: India 217 & 64/2 (Sharma 30; Southee 2-17) lead New Zealand 249 (Williamson 49, Southee 30, Jamieson 21; Shami 4-76, Sharma 3-48) by 32 runs
After witnessing the WTC final between India and New Zealand so far, one would think how good it could have turned out to be had rain not played spoilsport. The weather on Day 5, however, was pleasing. We saw 80.2 overs of cricket being played between two top sides without any interruption.
After taking a backseat at the end of Day 3, India fought back with the ball on Day 5, with Mohammed Shami being the wrecker-in-chief. Much like yesterday, India bowled short early on and weren’t aiming fuller lengths.
India didn’t get any wicket until Drinks on Day 5. The line, however, was good as the bowlers didn't let Williamson and Taylor free their arms easily. India didn’t let the Blackcaps score runs easily as only 16 runs were scored in 13 overs till Drinks.
Momentum Shift after Drinks in the first session
The pressure was building. Virat Kohli’s India needed wickets and, once again, it was Mohammed Shami, who stood up. In only the second over after Drinks, Mohammed Shami struck with his first wicket of the day.
He lured Ross Taylor to drive the ball hard through covers only to find Shubman Gill stationed there. Gill dived to his right to complete a one-handed stunner. All those silent overs were finally rewarded with a wicket. Taylor departed for 11 off 37 balls.
Skipper Virat Kohli made some great bowling changes on Day 5. Ishant Sharma was brought in as first change and he struck immediately. Nicholls edged a full delivery from Ishant and was caught by Rohit Sharma diving at the second slip.
Shami sent Watling packing in the next over with an absolute peach of a delivery which knocked the latter’s off stump. Watling, in the final Test of his career, went for 1 off 3 balls. In just a short span of time, the momentum shifted completely in favour of India and New Zealand found themselves at 5-135.
However, a resilient Kane Williamson kept leaving the balls outside the off-stump and slowly took the innings forward. At Lunch, the score for the Blackcaps remained 135 for 5 in 72 overs.
New Zealand manage 249 in the second innings
Kane Williamson held one end strongly as New Zealand progressed further. He stitched a 27-run partnership with Colin de Grandhomme in around 12 overs before the latter got out leg before off Shami for 13 off 30 balls. Regular wickets kept India on top but Williamson’s stay ensured New Zealand didn’t get bundled out cheaply.
Kyle Jamieson played aggressively and added 21 runs in no time before Shami accounted for his wicket with a bouncer. Williamson then added runs with Southee before the former’s stay finally ended in the 94th over.
The New Zealand skipper dabbed the ball towards the back of square only to find Virat Kohli stationed at a wide second slip. His well-compiled 49-run knock came to an end. Southee then scored 30 runs to frustrate India as their problems with tailenders persisted. Jadeja finally bowled the New Zealand fast bowler to wrap the innings at 249 runs.
Mohammed Shami stood out for India, picking 4 for 76 in 26 overs, while Ishant Sharma claimed 3 for 48 in 25 overs.
New Zealand remove both Indian openers at the end of the day’s play
Both Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill played cautiously in the early period of the Indian innings. The duo didn't take any risk, ensuring India don’t lose any wicket early. However, Tim Southee finally got Gill leg-before in the eleventh over.
Rohit Sharma played really well and would have wanted to stay till the end of the day. However, Tim Southee sent him packing too just a few overs before the end of Day. Rohit left the balls which were pitched outside off, played along the line and built his innings quite well. However, he, unfortunately, got out on 30 off 81 balls.
Jamieson too made life uncomfortable for the India batters, however, he didn’t get any wicket to his account this time. Pujara and Kohli are currently unbeaten at 12 and 8 respectively and India is placed at 2-64, leading New Zealand by 32 runs.
Who could win on Day 5?
For India, to win the game from here, they need to score at a very fast rate. Doing that and taking all ten wickets inside one or two sessions would be next to impossible. Having said that, Virat Kohli and Co. would be keen to go for the win.
New Zealand, on the other, have a better chance of winning the game if they close out India’s innings early. It will be interesting to see how both teams fare on the reserve day of the summit clash.
1) Shubman Gill was Southee’s 600th international wicket. With that, he became only the second New Zealand bowler after Vettori to reach the 600-wicket landmark.
2) When Ravichandran Ashwin clipped out Neil Wagner’s wicket, he reached the 50-wicket milestone in Tests against New Zealand in only his seventh Test against the island nation. He becomes the fourth Indian bowler after Bishan Singh Bedi, Erappalli Prasanna and Anil Kumble to reach this milestone against the Kiwis.