Black Caps one magical performance away from the historical title

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ICC World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand sway to reserve day with all three results on stake. India closed day five on 62-2 after overcoming a 32-run deficit.

New Zealand slightly in a comfortable position with India only has an outside chance to win the final. With 98 overs assumed on the final day, India has an uphill task to set the target, before bundling out Kiwi’s, If they see themselves holding the World Test Championship Mace alone.

While, on other hand, Southampton’s cloudy weather can assist Black Caps to dismiss eight Indian batsmen as soon as possible and give themselves chance to win the ICC crown after 21 years. The last and only ICC trophy for New Zealand being Champion Trophy back in 2000.

Tim Southee (2-17) dismissed both the Indian openers on the last session of Day 5 before Cheteshwar Pujara (12) and captain Virat Kohli (08) took them through with a 32-run lead. Rohit Sharma (30) was trapped in front of the wicket by Southee’s sharp inswinger after taking a couple of balls away from the Indian star opener.

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Kiwi’s skipper, Kane Williamson, brought out his slowest test innings, retaining a 27.68 strike rate, to take India’s win out of the equation to some extent. He faced 177-ball before handing an easy catch to Kohli at third slip on 49. New Zealand’s opener Devon Conway (54), the lone half-centurion so far, top-scored for them on their way to 249 runs in the first innings.

Mohammad Shami (4-76) and Ishant Sharma were leading wicket-taker for India with Ravi Ashwin (2-28) and Ravindra Jadeja (1-20) picking up the rest of the wickets.

Earlier, Kyle Jamieson ran through the Indian batting line up with five wickets to his tally. He dismissed the likes of Kohli, Sharma and Rishabh Pant on his way to return the figure of five for 31 including 12 maidens in 22 overs.

Ajinkya Rahane (49) and Kohli (44) were among the top scorers for India in their 217-run first innings.

ICC brought out the provision of an extra reserve day to make up for the possible loss of overs on the scheduled hours. The historical final lost around 225 overs in allocated five days with 98 overs likely to recover on Thursday.

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