Blackcaps bowler: 'We can still win cricket's world test final'

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Jun 2021, 2:01PM

Blackcaps bowler: 'We can still win cricket's world test final'

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Jun 2021, 2:01PM

Blackcaps pace bowler Tim Southee says it's all on in the world test cricket final, despite widespread predictions that the Southampton showdown is headed for a draw.

India go into the sixth and final day with a 32 run lead, and two second innings wickets down, against a New Zealand side which has held an edge throughout the rain affected game.

Who knows when New Zealand will get another chance to claim this new cricket prize? And the Hampshire weather has made their impressive bid to become the inaugural test title winners a tough ask.

But while time is running out, the ball should swing wildly again in the hands of a Kiwi attack made for the English conditions.

Southee, who claimed the second innings scalps of India's openers, said the Kiwis were happy with their modest 32 run lead, despite hoping for more.

While Devon Conway got the Kiwis off to a great start, and Kane Williamson provided the backbone of the innings, it need high speed cameos from pacemen Kyle Jamieson and Southee – who hit one enormous six – to overhaul the modest Indian first innings total.

"You probably always want more and we would have liked a lead over 50 but we've got two of their more attacking players (out)," Southee said.

"It is shaping up for an intriguing day. It's exciting turning up on the last day of a test match with all three results still possible.

"The first couple of hours will be very crucial.

"There is a little bit of assistance in the pitch, and we've seen with the Indian side that the ball tended to swing a bit more when it was slightly older.

"If we can manage to do that as well we will ask a few questions early on.

"They've got two of their best at the crease at the moment – the first hour or two will be crucial to how each side sets up the day. It is shaping up as a great final day."

Kyle Jamieson is one of the key figures in New Zealand's race against time for victory. (Photo / Photosport)

Southee struggled with the ball in the first inning but came roaring back to life, and revealed a potential new weapon in his armoury.

The great swing bowler has battled throughout his career to develop a lethal inswinger, but is apparently making progress on that score.

"As the wicket starts to deteriorate you try to bring the stumps into it a bit more," said Southee, who has rattled India with successive lbw decisions against Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma.

"It was nice to see one nip in at first, and a hint of swing back in as well with the Duke ball.

"You continue to work, keep adding to your game."

The New Zealand TAB is paying $1.18 for the draw, $5 for a New Zealand win, and a whopping $17 for an Indian victory.

ESPN CricInfo reported that India would have to "steer a path through Storm Southee".

"We've lost a lot of time in this Test, but when the teams have got on it has crackled with intensity," the highly respected cricket website stated.

"Is there enough time to set up a result tomorrow? You'd have to think the draw is the favourite, with a NZ win next in line if they can somehow spark a collapse. The sixth day beckons, the ultimate day of the Ultimate Test."

Indian all-rounder Ravi Ashwin described it as "a great day of Test cricket" but wished there was a bit more time left, from India's perspective, to engineer a victory.

"The game's pretty well poised, if we had some more time," he said.

"If we could get some good runs, and set it up for tomorrow - we've got to hang in there and play it by the hour.

"Get through it, get a few runs and try to set it up in the back half of the day, 98 overs is a bit less from our perspective, we'll have to see."