Having closed in at 146-3, with a set Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, India were in a dominant position at the end of Day 2 of the World Test Championship (WTC) final. However, New Zealand came back hard on Day 3 and swung the pendulum in their favour. Led by Kyle Jamieson, the Kiwis bamboozled the Indian batting and knocked off the remaining seven wickets for a mere 71 runs as India were bundled out for 217. With the pitch offering enough assistance, the Indian bowlers were expected to pick up few early wickets.
However, Devon Conway and Tom Latham held fort and stitched a 70 run opening stand. Indian bowlers tried everything they had in their arsenal but the Kiwi batsmen looked in no trouble whatsoever. However, just before the close of play, India managed to break Conway’s concentration. New Zealand are 101-2 at the end of Day 3, a pretty comfortable position to be in and India have a lot of work to do to claw back into the match. But as we saw yesterday with India, a wicket can trigger a collapse and India would hope they can get a breakthrough early in the day and restrict New Zealand for not much.
Former Pakistan cricketer Ramiz Raja believes that India can make a scintillating comeback if they don’t allow New Zealand to take a big lead, adding that it will be tough but not impossible.
“India should ensure that New Zealand don’t have a big lead. They need to keep up the pressure and take wickets at regular intervals backed by good catching. Virat Kohli needs to have a straight and simple game plan and everyone should be on the same page with defined roles,” Ramiz said.
“It will be tough, there will be pressure but it is not impossible and India can make a grand comeback. All is not lost for India and they need to play competitive cricket to make a comeback,” he added.
The cricketer turned commentator added that India have a quality bowling lineup and can take 20 New Zealand wickets. He also opined that the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be the key for India. Ramiz believes that New Zealand have a one dimensional attack that will not be very effective in the second innings.
“India have been successful in this format because of his bowling attack. They have bowlers who can pick 20 wickets. Going forward, I feel India will be better served because they have two spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja if the wickets get dry,” he said.
“New Zealand, on the other hand, is a one-dimensional attack and the bowling attack is best suited for first innings,” he signed off.
While fans are waiting for a riveting contest on Day 4, the weather is expected to play spoilsport with showers expected throughout the day.