WTC final: New Zealand look in control at end of Day 3

When play ended prematurely due to poor visibility on the third day of the World Test Championship final here on Sunday, New Zealand were in a strong position at 101 for two wickets, replying to India’s 217 first-innings’ 217.

At close of play, captain Kane Williamson was batting on 12 (37 balls, 1×4). Devon Conway (54, 222 minutes, 153 balls, 6x4s) was out just moments before the umpires decided that the light was not good enough for play. Mohammad Shami superbly caught Conway at mid-on off Ishant Sharma to sort of make up for going wicketless despite bowling brilliantly. Conway’s was the first half-century of the match so far.

R. Ashwin dismissed the other batsman, Tom Latham (30, 104 balls, 3x4s), with captain Virat Kohli taking a good catch at short extra-cover.

Although New Zealand are still 116 runs behind, they would feel comfortable as their most experienced batsman, Ross Taylor, playing his 108th Test, was yet to bat. The others to follow are no less experienced. They are Henry Nicholls (40th Test), Bradley-John Watling (75th), and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme (26th).

The inclement weather will play a crucial role in deciding this Test match. Although the first day was lost completely to rain, three more days are left in the contest. Seam and swing bowling will play a major part in the two teams’ fortunes at the Hampshire Bowl.

Earlier, the third day’s play started with India at 146 for three, with Kohli (44) and Ajinkya Rahane (29) at the crease. India were all out soon after the lunch interval.

Rahane ended up as the top scorer of the innings with 49 (117 balls, 5x4s) while Kohli scored 44 (132 balls, 1×4). Opener Rohit Sharma chipped in with 34 (68 balls, 6x4s).

For New Zealand, fast bowler Kyle Jamieson captured his fifth five-wicket innings haul, in his eighth Test, for 31 runs in 22 overs. His superb figures included 12 maiden overs and the wickets of Kohli, Sharma, and Rishabh Pant (4).

Brief scores (Close, Day 3): India: 217 all out in 92.1 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 49, Virat Kohli 44, Rohit Sharma 34, Kyle Jamieson 5/31, Neil Wagner 2/40, Trent Boult 2/47) New Zealand: 101/2 wkts in 49 overs (Devon Conway 54, Tom Latham 30, Kane Williamson batting 12)