WTC final: Jamieson strikes before Pant leads India revival

Filed on June 23, 2021
New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson celebrates the wicket of India's Cheteshwar Pujara. (AFP)

Jamieson took two for six in six overs on his way to superb lunch figures of 2-21 in 17 overs

Kyle Jamieson captured the prized wickets of India captain Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara as New Zealand pushed for an “extra-time” victory in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton on Wednesday.

India, who had resumed on 64-2 in their second innings, were 130-5 for at lunch on the reserve sixth day, giving them a lead of just 98 runs with 73 overs of the day’s maximum 98 still to be bowled.

Jamieson took two for six in six overs on his way to superb lunch figures of 2-21 in 17 overs.

And the towering paceman, who enjoyed a first-innings return of 5-31, would have had an even better haul had Tim Southee not dropped a regulation slip catch to reprieve Rishabh Pant on five.

The free-scoring Pant was 28 not out, including four fours, with Ravindra Jadeja unbeaten on 12.

After rain washed out two days the reserve day — a special provision for this Test — was deployed in the hope a two-year effort to crown red-ball cricket’s first official world champions might end with an outright winner.

Play resumed in bright sunshine on Wednesday in a match where there is total prize money of $2.4 million.

New Zealand, whose pace bowler Southee removed India openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma on Tuesday, could concentrate solely on taking wickets.

India, by contrast, had to worry about both denying New Zealand a breakthrough yet at the same time not batting so defensively that runs dried up completely.

Star batsman Kohli had added just five runs to his overnight eight when he fell to Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate Jamieson for the second time in the Test, edging a delivery that bounced and moved late to wicketkeeper BJ Watling, in his final match before retirement.

And 71-3 became 72-4 when Pujara, who took 80 balls to score his 15, edged a delivery that held its line low to a diving Ross Taylor at first slip.

Pujara’s exit brought in the free-scoring Pant, a batsman capable of wresting the initiative from New Zealand.

But the wicketkeeper should have been out for five when he edged Jamieson, only for second-slip Southee, going across first slip, to drop a routine chance.

Pant, to the delight of India fans in the crowd, then whipped Southee past mid-on for four.

Ajinkya Rahane cut Trent Boult to the boundary only for the cheers from supporters to turn to shocked silence next ball when he was caught behind down the legside.

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