WTC Final: Batting great Sunil Gavaskar, speaking to India Today, pointed out that the conditions in Southampton have eased out a bit and batting is going to be easier on the Reserve Day. India will resume their 2nd innings with a 32-run lead with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara out in the middle.
India need to make bold calls to enforce a result in the WTC final on Reserve Day (Reuters Photo)
- India headed to Stumps on Day 5 with 32-run lead, New Zealand made 249 in first innings
- India need to post a competitive total and then bowl New Zealand out to secure a win
- The World Test Championship will be shared between the two finalists if final ends as draw
Former India captain and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar believes India have given themselves an opportunity to push for a victory in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand on the Reserve Day but the change in conditions in Southampton might have made the job that much harder.
Sunil Gavaskar, speaking to India Today from the Ageas Bowl, said he expects an exciting finish to the WTC final which has headed into the Reserve Day, which will be played on Wednesday. The legendary batsman added India need to up their ante after a cautious start on the sixth day to give themselves a chance to post a challenging 2nd innings total.
India went to Stumps on Day 5 at 64 for 2, leading New Zealand by 32 runs. Towards the end of the day’s play, India lost flamboyant opener Rohit Sharma for 30. Tim Southee got the veteran batsman and he also was responsible for sending young opener Shubman Gill early in the second innings.
Captain Virat Kohli (8*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (12*) will resume India’s innings on Wednesday. There is not much time in this Test but India will be looking to enforce things on the Reserve Day after more than two days of play was washed out due to rain.
“India will be looking to score freely and put some runs on the board and maybe try to bowl New Zealand out in the fourth innings. An exciting finish for the first-ever WTC final,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“They have earned the opportunity (an outside chance to go for win) but now the pitch seems to be playing a lot better because of the weather that is different, there is a little bit of sun out now. It has dried up the surface.
“Even if there is a little bit of grass on the pitch, it won’t have that much carry that was there in the earlier days. So that means batting has become a lot easier.
“India will probably not be able to bowl New Zealand out in the 2nd innings. They have to bowl exceptionally well to get New Zealand out,” Gavaskar said.
New Zealand were reeling at 135 for 5 when they headed to Lunch on Day 5 and it looked like India would be able to manage a handy first-innings lead. However, captain Kane Williamson hung in and showed steely resolve in tough batting conditions.
The likes of Kyle Jamieson (15-ball 21) and Tim Southee (46-ball 30) came up with crucial knocks while batting alongside their captain, who managed to hit 49. The trio pushed New Zealand’s total to 249 and gave them a 32-run lead. New Zealand were able to add 87 runs for their last 4 wickets which could prove to be the difference between the two sides in the end.
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