Shami sizzles with four wicket haul but New Zealand take 32-run lead against India- The New Indian Express


SOUTHAMPTON: Mohammed Shami’s artistry was on full display but New Zealand still managed to take a crucial 32-run lead after scoring 249 on the fifth day of the World Test Championship final agianst India here on Tuesday.

More than the quantum of the first innings lead, New Zealand will gain psychological advantage as their seam attack can go for the kill on the final day to force a result.

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 last New Zealand wicket.

Mohammed Shami (4/76), after a mesmerising morning spell, got a couple of more wickets in the post-lunch session.

He dismissed Colin de Grandhomme with a delivery angled in and Jamieson with a bouncer.

During the final half-an-hour, India’s senior-most player Ishant Sharma (3/48) denied half-century to a dogged skipper Kane Williamson (49) with a classic Test match dismissal — delivery rearing up and shaping out which was edged to 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 remained standout performer bowling their hearts out.

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

But no amount of praise is enough for Shami, who brought India back in the match before New Zealand could press its foot on the pedal.

Such was his domination that Williamson managed only seven runs in an entire session of play.

Ross Taylor (11) 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 then had the normally dependable Henry Nicholls (7), who went for a ‘fishing expedition’ when the lanky speedster pushed his length fuller by a yard and the edge at second slip was taken by Rohit Sharma.

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

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

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

However, the disappointment for India was Jasprit Bumrah (0/57), who bowled short and wide which former England captain Nasser Hussain termed “pretty balls” that don’t yield results.

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

He didn’t 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 during both sessions.

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