POST TIME: 19 June, 2021 10:50:04 PM
New Zealand strike after inconsistent start
Cricbuzz, Bangalore

New Zealand strike after inconsistent start

The first ball of the World Test Championship final was down the leg-side from Tim Southee, and it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the session. New Zealand took their time to hit the right lines and lengths, allowing India a good look-in under overcast skies against a shiny, new Dukes ball. It manifested in how Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill added 62 comfortable runs for the first wicket before both of them fell edging deliveries outside off-stump, signalling a change in trend and balance towards the end of the session.

Both Rohit and Gill batted outside their crease as Southee and Trent Boult extracted plenty of movement at the other end -- more than what they did in the first two Tests of the summer according to Cricviz -- but the two opening bowlers pitched the ball either too full or down the leg-side. It resulted in a few delectable cover drives and back foot punches from Sharma that went hand in hand with gorgeous pull shots from Gill.

The back foot play from Rohit was so good and aggressive that Kane Willaimson had to put a deep cover in place. It could have even tricked him into going for an lbw review with Colin de Grandhomme bowling, only to find out the inside edge that he'd missed.

Getting adventurous by the minute, Gill was hit on the helmet when he charged down to Kyle Jamieson, the first-change bowler whose shackles Gill was trying to break through. It wouldn't take Jamieson too long to strike thereafter, getting Rohit edging to third slip with the first ball he bowled to him. They weren't going that way earlier in the session but when it did, Tim Southee dived and ensured that the chance didn't go to waste.

Gill then fell edging behind in the first over from Neil Wagner, who came in to bowl as late as the 25th over but took only three balls to strike.

In a matter of minutes, New Zealand had redeemed a session which they started with the wrong foot forward, bowling only seven stump-hitting balls in the first 15 overs according to the official broadcaster. Once the change-up bowlers in Jamieson and Colin de Grandhomme got back some control, the batting looked much more difficult for India in the middle. It hadn't when Virat Kohli lost the toss and India were sent in against New Zealand's four-man pace attack.

On the other side of the lunch break, the task is cut out for Virat Kohli, who got off the mark with a crisp cover drive, and Cheteshwar Pujara, who is yet to get off the mark after 24 deliveries in the middle.

Brief Scores: India 69/2 (Sharma 34, Gill 28; Wagner 1-5, Jamieson 1-10) vs New Zealand