WTC Final | First session could decide the fate of the final, believes Tim Southee

New Zealand pacer Tim Southee believes that the first session on Day 6 will set the tone for the rest of the day, and feels that it will be vitally important for his side to begin the final day on a positive note. Southee further admitted that New Zealand would have liked to have had a lead over 50.

New Zealand will enter day 6 of the World Test Championship final knowing that it could very well be their best ever chance to win an ICC Trophy, and the equation for the Kiwis is simple: bowl India out as cheaply as possible and chase the target down. With conditions getting better for batting, and with India still having eight wickets in hand, it won’t be a simple task, but the Kiwis inflicted similar damage three days ago when they skittled out the last 7 Indian wickets for just 68 runs, after the hosts began Day 3 on 146/3.

On Day 3 it was the first session in which the Kiwis put India on the backfoot, and Tim Southee believes that the Blackcaps would have to do something similar on the final day to lay a clear path for victory.

“That is a quality Indian batting line-up with two of their best (Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara) at the crease at the moment. So we have to be on top of our game tomorrow and that first hour or two are going to be crucial for each side; it will set up the day,” Southee said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

Southee starred with the ball on Day 5, accounting for both the Indian wickets to fall, but he also played a crucial hand with the bat, scoring 30 valuable runs to stretch the Kiwis’ lead over 30. But despite the Kiwis bettering India’s first innings score, the veteran pacer admitted that they would have liked for the lead to be a bit bigger. Southee lauded the Indian bowlers, who he felt put in an outstanding shift.

“We would have liked to get a few more (runs), get the lead over 50, but I think the Indian side was outstanding with the ball and put us under pressure at the start of the day. So for us to sneak past and get a 30-odd run lead was nice in the end.”

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