Having been reduced to 205/7, the onus fell on Ravindra Jadeja, the latest recognized hitter to lead India to a good first-inning total on a tough surface in Southampton. While Trent Boult was on the road celebrating Ravindra Jadeja’s lead on slips, Tim Southee’s knockdown made him livid.
On what seemed like the best day for bowling, New Zealand made their actions count more than words, with Kyle Jamieson seeing the back of Indian captain Virat Kohli and key hitter Rishabh Pant early in the innings. With Ravindra Jadeja entering the fold, the onus was on the shoulders of Ajinkya Rahane, who stood his ground under difficult conditions.
While Rahane’s lead was evaded several times during the day, from Jamieson and Trent Boult, he showed a determination of the size of steel to hold the races, with his punch showing true composure. However, his resolve was beaten when left arm pacemaker Neil Wagner caught the right-hander in his plan, with a short ball that went straight into the hands of Tom Latham.
Ravichandran Ashwin showed his best, with some exquisite punches before closing in on the slip cord, to reduce India to 205/7. Once Ashwin was out, Jadeja was the last recognized hitter, helping India reach a respectable position in the World Test Championship final. However, to the left-hander’s nightmare, he received a peach delivery from Boult, only for Tim Southee to give him a reprieve.
New Zealand, which has a 91% success rate with slippery cord catches, made a crucial mistake, with Southee dropping the Indian off-roader – a catch that could prove costly to them. He left the left arm pacemaker terribly dejected, and gave fellow pacemaker Southee a chance, for dropping the simplest shot on day three.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
– Rishobpuant (@rishobpuant) June 20, 2021
BOULT IS NOT HAPPY!
– ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 20, 2021
When SIR JADEJA hits, even the best team on slips drops a catch.
– Mitul (@ R3Mitul) June 20, 2021
It took a lead from Sir’s bat for the Kiwis to drop a trap on the slips!
The man … the enigma … the legend!#IndiaVsNewZealand
– Gagan Chawla (@toecrushrzzz) June 20, 2021