Kyle Jamieson stands tall as New Zealand gain WTC final edge over India

  • WTC final, day three: India 217 all out, New Zealand 101-2
  • Jamieson takes five for 31 in immaculate bowling display

The sounds of the Bharat Army’s drummers rung around the Ageas Bowl on the third day of the World Test Championship final and in the end this energy finally told, India striking moments before bad light ended proceedings at 6.27pm to peg back New Zealand’s march towards a position of strength.

It was Ishant Sharma, the old warhorse of Virat Kohli’s attack, who claimed this precious breakthrough. Devon Conway had become the first batsman to register a half-century in what is proving a low-scoring affair, only to chip a ball on his pads to mid-on and terminate an otherwise resolute 54 from 153 balls.

But while it was reward for Sharma’s perspiration amid a late charge that saw the bat repeatedly beaten, New Zealand still finished in the ascendancy. The Black Caps will resume on 101 for two with Kane Williamson unbeaten on 12, having earlier bowled out their opponents for just 217 through Kyle Jamieson’s frankly immaculate figures of five for 31 from 22 overs.

After two days of rain and just two sessions of cricket – the impact of which could yet be offset by this reserve day on Wednesday – it felt like this final had finally burst into life. The crowd may be capped at 4,000 but with the bulk supporting India, a wonderful vibe has bubbled up regardless.

This was needed, not just for the International Cricket Council’s first stab at giving Test cricket a showpiece event of its own but also the Indian bowlers, who, like their English counterparts during New Zealand’s recent 1-0 series victory, found Conway seemingly rooted to the crease.

The left-hander had put on 70 for the first wicket with Tom Latham and though he lost his opening partner for 30, Ravichandran Ashwin seeing him caught by Kohli at short-cover, over the course of three hours he had hunkered down with aplomb, leaving anything out of his eyeline and picking off six fours.

Mohammad Shami celebrates taking a catch to dismiss Devon Conway.
Mohammad Shami celebrates taking a catch to dismiss Devon Conway. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

There were moments of good fortune, not least when the bustling Mohammed Shami extracted some extra bounce from the surface only to see the resulting edges evade fieldsmen, and in the end it took a batsman error, Conway hammering his pads with his bat in disgust as he trudged off.

However, New Zealand need not be too down and in Jamieson they had cause for celebration overnight. The 6ft 8in right-armer now has 44 wickets at 14 runs apiece from his first eight Tests – no bowler has claimed more victims at a lower average since the 19th century – and during the opening exchanges of this absorbing, attritional contest he has shone the brightest.

The day had begun with a 30-minute delay but still pregnant with possibilities thanks to an encouraging forecast, India’s resumption on 146 for three and Kohli ominously unbeaten on 44 following a diligent shift 24 hours earlier. Could the 10th anniversary of his Test debut end what has been a curious 18-month spell without a century? The answer was an emphatic no, Jamieson wiping out Kohli without troubling the scorers further as a string of outswingers was followed by the one that nipped back in for a simple lbw decision and a burned review. With this came vindication for declining a cheeky invitation to bowl at Kohli with a Dukes ball in the nets when team-mates during this year’s Indian Premier League.

It also brought Rishabh Pant to the crease but, like others, the left-hander found Jamieson’s fuller length hard work, taking 20 balls to get off the mark before a booming drive at a tempting delivery outside off stump flew to Latham at second slip. At 156 for five in the 74th over, all eyes were on set man Ajinkya Rahane, who began the day on 29, to chisel out a workable first-innings total.

By lunch India’s captain had already departed one short of his half-century, however, an injudicious pull shot off Neil Wagner flying to a recently stationed square leg and followed by Ashwin’s removal lbw to Tim Southee for a lively 22. From 211 for seven, Kohli’s men badly needed the tail to wag.

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It never came, Jamieson resuming after the break to complete his fifth five-wicket haul when Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah were removed in successive deliveries. Shami, the No11, drove the hat-trick ball for four but could only look on as Trent Boult had Ravindra Jadeja caught down leg.

This capped a faultless display behind the stumps from BJ Watling in what is his final Test appearance before retirement but it was Jamieson who led the Black Caps off the field, his 14 overs of work on the day having yielded just 14 runs to go with those four telling strikes.

The 26-year-old has spoken about some confidence issues growing up that stemmed from his height; as he soaked up the generous applause from both sets of supporters those days must have felt a lifetime ago.


Ali Martin at the Ageas Bowl

The GuardianTramp

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