IND vs NZ, WTC Final Live: The covers are off, the sun is out, and the much-awaited World test Championship Final is underway in a scintillating fashion. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to ball first owing to the overcast conditions at stake. The stoppage of play on Day one added with the overcast conditions gave Indian fans a scary memory of the Kiwi bowlers from the 2019 World Cup semi-final. But as it stands now, India’s newly found opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, along with Pujara has managed to keep the past memories away. They stuck to the traditional batting approach in England, by leaving away balls swinging outside off and punishing the bad balls around the leg stump. And by this calculated approach, they have managed to put on 69-2 at the end of session one with Rohit and Gill being the only batsmen to be dismissed.
The rain gods decided to show mercy on Day 2 and the prestigious ICC World Test Championship got underway after a delay of an entire one day. Even if the rain was out, the overcast conditions which were still present were expected to tempt the captains of both teams to chose to ball first. And rightly so, the intentions were very clear from both captains. They united in their thought of having to bowl first if they win the toss. But as always, the toss decided to be unkind to Indian captain Virat Kohli. Kane won the toss and decided to bowl first and as expected decided to field an all-pace attack in this seaming condition.
The intention of Kiwi bowlers was very clear from ball one. Run fast, target the off stump and force the Indian batsmen to nick it towards the slip cordon. But till the initial 20 overs, this approach didn’t reward them in any way. Rohit with his trigger movements and Gill, who advanced down the track on a majority of occasions negated this scary swing bowling in their own way, thereby completely shifting the advantage in favour of India before the drinks break.
The boy who is playing his debut Test in England looked shaky at the start and took time to score his first run. Right after that, he impressed everyone with his trademark pull shots and classy straight drives. Rohit, who is known to have a poor record overseas, looked very determined to prove everyone wrong. He started off by playing a flick shot down the mid-wicket region and looked very settled in the first half of the first session.
New Zealand’s new-ball duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult who together have a tally of over 500 Test wickets between them was played out perfectly by India’s fairly new and inexperienced opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill just before the drinks. This forced Williamson to try out Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, and Neil Wagner in search of a much-needed first wicket.
The nearly 7-foot-tall monster Kyle Jamieson who was introduced to stop Gill’s advancing down the track paid double dividends for the Kiwis. In the 17th over, he managed to smash Gill’s helmet. He was immediately examined for a concussion. But seemed all right. Right after that, he forced Rohit to edge towards the third slip thereby ending his innings on 34(68). Neil Wagner who came in to replace de Grandhomme managed to end Gill’s classy start at 28(64), thereby completely securing the second half of 1st innings. It was a ball that was angling away outside the off-stump. Shubman trusted the bounce and backed his abilities but fell prey to the trap of Wagner. Right after his wicket, it was captain Kohli, who steered on to the pitch.
He made his mark felt on the final with a trademark cover drive against Wagner himself. Now as it end, India is 69-2 at the end of the first session.