The final day of the World Test Championship awaits a thrilling contest between India and New Zealand after days of interrupted play due to rainfall and bad light.
There were several key performers for each side including Shami, Southee and Williamson.
Shami dismantles Kiwis
Mohammad Shami, whose selection was dubious for the inaugural WTC, has delivered the goods when captain Virat Kohli needed someone from the pace cartel to stand tall.
The right-arm pacer claimed four wickets on Day 5 to break partnership after partnership and hamper New Zealand’s batting in the first innings.
After Kane Williamson put up 49, Shami did not let any NZ batsman extend his stay at the crease.
On the other hand, Ishant Sharma’s three wickets also helped India pull back the game on their side.
NZ seemed to be cruising away in the WTC final until the Shami-Sharma duo let the ball do the talking.
At the end of Day 5, India are 64/2 with Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Kohli at the crease.
They somehow played out the tricky last 15 minutes but knew they had serious work to do on the final morning, the reserve day.
India started the innings against NZ trailing by 32 runs and are now leading by 32 runs.
Southee’s late shockwaves
Tim Southee has been the man in great form for Kane Williamson.
He was only able to pick one wicket in the first innings but excelled with with the bat.
The pacer chipped in a fiery 30 runs thanks to two towering sixes.
The NZ quick is usually known for his swing bowling, but he seems to be in fine knock in every department.
Just before Day 5 ended, Southee sent the Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, back to the hut before much damage could have been done.
While the Indian team prepared for the Trent Boult test, Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee have seemed to come out of the syllabus.
Kohli’s game awareness
Don’t let Virat Kohli’s Punjabi dance steps, shushes, send-offs and celebrations put you off guard.
Apart from being pure box office gold, the Indian captain showed why he is the right choice to lead India.
The quick fall of Kiwi wickets had a lot to do with bowling changes that Kohli brought about.
The three times he changed the bowlers, a wicket went down in the first over of the spell.
When it came to India’s second innings, he decided to come out himself following Rohit Sharma’s late departure instead of sending in a night watchman.
Sending anyone in the Indian pace cartel would have been like sending a pig for slaughter considering the sore legs they must have after gruesome sessions in the biggest game of Test cricket ever played.
What to expect on the final day?
Kohli is set to steer India to a whirlwind reserve day of the game.
His wicket will be the key to determine which side has the edge on Day 6.
Unbeaten on 8 in 12 balls, the Indian skipper can accelerate if the need be.
If he’s able to put runs in a jiffy on the board, India will attain a solid lead to threaten the Williamson-led troops.
If the final day doesn’t face any rain delay, the game can go down to the wire.