Shami celebrate with teamates after taking a wicket
Shami celebrate with teamates after taking a wicket
AFP

Southampton: The World Test Championship Final seems to be heading for a tight finish after both India and New Zealand battled hard on the fifth day of the rain-hit showpiece match here on Tuesday.

India pacer Mohammed Shami sizzled with a four-wicket haul but could not stop New Zealand from taking a crucial 32-run lead as the Black Caps scored 249 runs after resuming at 101 for two.

India, who scored 217 runs in their first innings, then ended the fifth day at 64 for two with a 32-run lead in their pocket.

Rohit Sharma (30) was watchful until he misread a straighter one from Tim Southee that caught him in front of the wicket towards the end of day's play. This was after Southee had already dismissed Shubhman Gill (8).

Ever-reliable Cheteshwar Pujara (12) and skipper Virat Kohli (8) were at the crease at stumps.

With three full sessions to play and a favourable forecast announced for the reserve day on Wednesday, the sixth day will come with the possibility of a draw as well as a result.

India took the upper hand in the morning session by removing three batsmen but Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson (49) and his lower-order colleagues Kyle Jamieson (21) and Tim Southee (30) seized the momentum with their smart batting approach.

Shami, who hit the good length consistently, scalped Ross Taylor (11), BJ Watling (1), Colin de Grandhomme (13) and Kyle Jamieson (21).

Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin shared five wickets between them while Ravindra Jadeja took one wicket.

New Zealand had ended the third day at 101 for two. Not a single ball was bowled on the fourth day due to inclement weather.

"Great day, game didn't move in the first session, our quicks bowled really well. Kane batted really well as well. A great day of Test cricket. The game's pretty well poised, if we had some more time. Lion-hearted effort, playing three quicks and they kept going on and on. [Shami] Today he was rewarded for some good bowling. We bowled a good hour and then rewarded in the 20 mins before lunch. If we could get some good runs, and set it up for tomorrow - we've got to hang in there and play it by the hour. Get through it, get a few runs and try to set it up in the back half of the day, 98 overs is a bit less from our perspective, we'll have to see," said R Ashwin. 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.

India 1st innings: 217 all out

New Zealand 1st Innings: (Resuming at 101-2)

Kane Williamson c V Kohli b I Sharma..................................49

Ross Taylor c S Gill b Shami..................................................11

Henry Nicholls c R Sharma b I Sharma...................................7

BJ Watling b M Shami..............................................................1

C de Grandhomme lbw b M Shami........................................13

Ke Jamieson c J Bumrah b M Shami.....................................21

Tim Southee b R Jadeja.........................................................30

Neil Wagner c A Rahane b R Ashwin.......................................0

Trent Boult not out....................................................................7

Extras (b-4, lb-10, nb-5)..........................................................19

Total (all out in 99.2 overs).................................................249

Fall of Wickets: 1-70, 2-101, 3-117, 4-134, 5-135, 6-162, 7-192, 8-221, 9-234.

Bowling: Ishant Sharma 25-9-48-3, Jasprit Bumrah 26-9-57-0, Mohammed Shami 26-8-76-4, Ravichandran Ashwin 15-5-28-2, Ravindra Jadeja 7.2-2-20-1.

India 2nd innings

Rohit Sharma lbw b Southee .................................................30

Shubman Gill lbw b Southee....................................................8

Cheteshwar Pujara not out.....................................................12

Virat Kohli (c) not out................................................................8

Extras: (lb 4, nb 1, w 1).............................................................6

TOTAL: ...............................................................................64-2

Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-51

Bowling: Tim Southee 9-3-17-2, Trent Boult 8-1-20-0, Kyle Jamieson 10-4-15-0, Neil Wagner 3-0-8-0

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