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India vs NZ, WTC Final Day 3: Jamieson’s fifer, openers put Kiwis ahead

Brief scores: New Zealand: 101/2 (Devon Conway 54, Tom Latham 30; Ishant Sharma 1/19) trail India: 217 (Ajinkya Rahane 49, Virat Kohli 44; Kyle Jamieson 5/31) by 116 runs

With the forecast at Southampton for Day 4 (read Day 3) being far from ideal, a draw in the ultimate Test seems the most likely solution. But the one thing that one should never rely on is the English weather playing spoilsport.

Team India lost seven wickets for a mere 71 runs on the morning of Day 3 of the WTC Final at Southampton. For the Kiwi’s, there was a loss of two wickets for 101. As the day’s play came to an end on Sunday, New Zealand had wrested back control of the match after the previous day, which would have certainly left them anxious seeing India’s progress.

Fast bowler Kyle Jamieson picked up his fifth five-for in just his eighth test match to deny India a strong position they would have been hoping for after ending the previous day at 146 for 3. Opener Devon Conway then became the first half-centurion of the match, before leaving the door open for India, falling minutes before bad light ended the day’s play prematurely.

Let us take a look at the major talking points from Day 3 of the WTC Final 

Jamieson fires on all cylinders

Fast-bowler Kyle Jamieson put up a show of absolute control to wrest back the momentum with the Kiwis’. In the morning session, even though he initially hesitated to hold the line, Jamieson’s control and his ability to rush the batsmen inside the crease, courtesy a high release point troubled Indian batsmen Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. As per the HawkEye, only seven out of Jamieson’s 94 deliveries would have gone on to hit the stumps but his seventh one of day three was a sheer beauty. The delivery ended captain Kohli’s yet another mini classic show, with the Indian skipper failing to add any runs to his overnight tally.

Pant fails to flatter

Coming into bat after captain Kohli’s dismissal, Rishabh Pant seemed in his elements, but a wide delivery lured him to drive when he could have left it alone. In the form of Tom Latham, Kiwis have a potent man at the slip cordon, who could gobble anything that comes his way. A while later, Rahane, in what can be described as one of his worst dismissals in recent memory, the Indian vice-captain tried to keep the pull low, unable to realise that Latham was everywhere in the field. A simple chest-high catch at forward square leg later, India were reduced to 182/6 — conceding the dominant position they had built throughout the second day. 

Ashwin plays a mini-blinder

Ravichandran Ashwin 2.0 — the batsman who has reinvented his gameplay — decided to show his range of strokes, playing across the line against fast bowlers Tim Southee and Jamieson. It was a mini-battle, worth its weight in gold as Ashwin hit three boundaries, and never for a moment, looked uncomfortable.

However, upon trying to hit Southee on the rise, the Indian spinner found the ball to have swung more than his usual liking and ended up giving Latham another catch.

Indian tail falls again

It was Ashwin’s dismissal that opened the floodgates for India, with Jamieson claiming Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in successive deliveries, in the process claiming his fifth fifer in as eight tests as India got bundled out for a paltry score of 217 — quite a far cry from the total the team had expected at the close of play the previous day.

Conway continues his form

New Zealand opener Devon Conway is continuing to live his dream. After several years in the wilderness playing first class cricket for the island nation, the left-hand batsman, as commentator Naseer Hussain mentioned when he reached his fifty, “has taken to Test cricket like a duck to water.”

In the most important match of his and his team’s career, Conway stood tall, defying India’s four-prong attack with a classic half-century that has kind of become his trademark since his debut three weeks ago at the mecca of cricket, where he scored a magnificent double century.

Shami on point, but unlucky again

Fast-bowler Mohammad Shami was undoubtedly India’s best bowler, but hardly had anything to show for at the end of a gripping day of Test cricket. Kohli kept Shami back as he opened the bowling with his other two quicks, but no sooner had Shami got the ball in his hand, he started doing the talking. An instant impact from him in the 10th over left both Kiwi openers ducking and battling the Indian quick. Shami’s pace off the deck hit the New Zealand batsman high on their bats, with edges either landing short of gully or flying over the fielder there. It just summed up not just Shami’s continued luckless run in England, but also his team’s.

Ashwin with the breakthrough

The discipline of Ashwin paid off for his first wicket in this Test. As Latham reached out to drive a flighted ball outside the off stump, he got beaten in the air by a by dip and change of pace by Ashwin. Latham ultimately ended up scooping the ball in the air, and captain Kohli at short extra-cover took a sharp catch over his head.

India end with a much-needed wicket

As the day was about to come to a close due to bad light, which has had a constant nagging effect on the match, Ishant Sharma overpitched a ball on the pads of Devon Conway, who upon seeing the release, unfurled an extravagant flick that he plays with his back leg in the air. He, however, was early into the shot and ended up looping the ball, which was caught at wide mid-on. Two balls later, the umpires took the players off for bad light.

Also Read: PSL 2021: Qualifier – ISL vs MUL, Fantasy Preview and Top Picks

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