India edge ahead after Williamson holds New Zealand together

By Sports Desk June 22, 2021

The World Test Championship final remains delicately poised after India ended the penultimate day at the Ageas Bowl on 64-2, giving them a slender lead of 32 runs.

After Monday's play was washed out at a sodden Southampton, New Zealand finally moved on from 101-2 to post 249 in their first innings, captain Kane Williamson pointing the way with 49.

There were also useful runs from the lower order – Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee contributed 21 and 30 respectively – as the Black Caps managed to overhaul India's total of 217.

Trailing by 32 as they came out to bat for a second time, India lost opener Shubman Gill, trapped lbw by Southee for eight, before they had erased the deficit in the final session.

Rohit Sharma also fell to the same bowler for 30 in the closing stages of proceedings, leaving Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to see their side to the close. They will resume on 12 and eight respectively.

New Zealand will hope to make early inroads on the sixth and final day, which was added by the International Cricket Council as a provision for time being lost to bad weather.

Mohammed Shami helped restrict New Zealand's advantage with 4-76, including dismissing BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme as the Kiwis slipped to 162-6.

Yet the resolute Williamson remained, producing a crucial 177-ball knock that included six fours. His vigil finally came to an end when he was well caught by opposite number Kohli at a wide third slip off Ishant Sharma when one shy of a half-century.

Spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja wrapped up the innings, though New Zealand's wagging tail means they appear the more likely winners on Wednesday.


Go-slow approach sees Kane able to move up

During his battling knock, Williamson surpassed Stephen Fleming (7,172) to become New Zealand's second highest run-scorer in Test cricket on 7,178, only behind current team-mate Ross Taylor (7,517) on the list. The latter reached a personal milestone while making 11, bringing up 18,000 international runs across all formats.

Shami shines with leather but still comes up short

Despite Kohli giving him every opportunity, Shami was unable to register his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests. The pace bowler produced a beauty to dismiss Watling, bowling the wicketkeeper for just one as India sensed the opportunity to seize a first-innings lead.

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