WTC final | Kohli and Pujara’s dismissal to Kyle Jamieson was turning point, feels VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman has pointed out that Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal against Kyle Jamieson was the turning point of the WTC final, that the Black Caps won by eight wickets. Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar also had a similar point of view about the final day.

India’s woes to win an ICC tournament continued as they were defeated by Kane Williamson’s New Zealand by eight wickets in the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton on Wednesday. The final match, which had lost two days of play owing to rain showers, was pushed to a reserve day where India’s batting order faltered against New Zealand’s lethal bowling attack. 

India came to bat on the reserve day, with a lead of 32 runs from their overnight score of 64/2 on day 5, with all hopes on skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to expand the lead into a massive target. But New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson came prepared with a different script for the game, as he found the outside edge of both batsman to reduce India to 72/4 in just the eighth over of the morning session. Former India batsman VVS Laxman asserted that losing Kohli and Pujara in that session was the turning point of the game. 

“The Indian batsmen, keeping in mind their experience and the talent they possess, would be extremely disappointed with the way they got out. We discussed how Jamieson and other New Zealand bowlers set up the Indian batsmen. Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma getting out to Tim Southee the day before. But I believe this was the turning point of the final day’s play. Jamieson set up Kohli and Pujara so beautifully and after that, it was difficult for India to pull back things,” Laxman said on Star Sports. 

India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who topped the scoring charts for India in the first innings with 49, tried to build a long-standing partnership with wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, but was hapless after nicking one to a Trent Boult delivery that came down the leg. Pant played his best to accelerate India’s total but ended up throwing his wicket in the course of power hitting.  Laxman said the lower-order failed to contribute to the team’s resilience. 

“Rahane was unfortunate to get out down the leg-stump and while Jadeja and Rishabh Pant were trying to play their natural game, trying to put some pressure on the New Zealand bowlers, the tail-enders did not give anything. So overall, I just felt that the morning spell from Jamieson was the turning point. The way he set up and execute his plans against Kohli and Pujara was great to see,” Laxman added. 

Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar also echoed Laxman’s views and pointed out the dismissals of Kohli and Pujara piled pressure on the team. Tendulkar also congratulated  New Zealand for their victory and called them a superior team. 

“Congrats @BLACKCAPS on winning the #WTC21. You were the superior team. #TeamIndia will be disappointed with their performance. As I had mentioned the first 10 overs will be crucial & (India) lost both Kohli & Pujara in the space of 10 balls & that put a lot of pressure on the team,” Tendulkar said in a tweet.

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