New Zealand had the better of India on Day 3 in Southampton and edged forward on the back of two fine performances - one by their tall pace bowler Kyle Jamieson and the other the collective effort of their openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway. However India fought back late in the day and got two new batsmen at the crease. New Zealand were 101 for the loss of their openers at the close of play still trailing India by 116 runs on a wicket that continues to offer some assistance to the faster bowlers.
We look at the key moments from Day 3 in Southampton.
1. Jamieson’s Change of Length Does The Trick for New Zealand
Kyle Jamieson was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers on Day 2 and had given New Zealand the initial breakthrough, prizing the wicket of the dangerous Rohit Sharma just when he and Shubman Gill were threatening to take the match away. Although the six foot eight inches tall fast bowler got the Indian opener with a fuller length delivery, the average length he bowled was short of good length or there about which was more of a restrictive strategy than a wicket-taking one.
That changed dramatically on Day 3 when Jamieson started proceedings pitching the ball a lot fuller and immediately reaping the rewards getting the big wicket of a well-set Virat Kohli. With the ball moving prodigiously from around the wicket which was actually taking the lbw out of the equation against Rishabh Pant, Jamieson decided to change ends and bowl from a different angle from over the wicket. It turned out to be a masterstroke as he induced an edge from the one angling away from the left-hander which Pant could not resist. Jamieson’s brilliant opening spell of 6 overs, 12 runs, 3 maidens and 2 wickets had brought New Zealand right back into the contest.
2. Mohammed Shami - The Best Bowler For India
Although he did not get a wicket, Mohammed Shami was the best Indian bowler on Day 3 in Southampton. The Indian pacers did not get as much movement off the new ball as their New Zealand counterparts - in fact whereas the New Zealand fast bowlers got 2.5 degrees of swing in the first 10 overs of the Indian innings, the Indian trio could only muster one degree of swing in a similar time-span this afternoon.
Virat Kohli may have missed a trick by not giving Shami the new Dukes Ball in Southampton - instead he was only got in to bowl in the 10th over of the New Zealand innings. It looked a different match almost immediately with the right-arm fast-medium bowler producing three absolute peaches in his very first over itself including a sight that was very common when with the ball in his hand when India last toured England in 2018 - beating the left-hander from around the wicket with the ball coming in at off stump and then just straightening past the forward defensive.
Shami continued to cause problems to both the left-handers. He got one to climb awkwardly at Devon Conway only for the ball to balloon up over the gap between third slip and gully. He tested both the left-handers in the corridor beating the bat on innumerable occasions and got the ball to rise from just short of a good length making it uncomfortable for them. Shami delivered 66 deliveries on the day and had the batsmen in trouble in as many as 18 of them! He had learnt from his shortcomings in 2018 - he bowled closer to the batsmen in between the third and fourth stump and pitched the ball a touch fuller. He also used the angles especially from around the wicket to his advantage.
3. Conway-Latham Gave New Zealand A Fine Start
Devon Conway and Tom Latham are earning a reputation for themselves together as a pair at the top of the order for New Zealand. They were again at their dogged best on Day 3 in Southampton defying the Indian bowlers for a little over 34 overs (that is more than a session) with the new ball. The striking feature of their partnership was the number of deliveries they left outside the off stump.
Both the left-handers showed plenty of patience and character and put a big price tag on their wicket. The Indian bowlers had kept things tight in the first hour of the innings but even when the runs were not coming the New Zealand pair remained unfazed and were happy to bat out time and overs. Just like their Indian counterparts, although in completely contrasting styles, the opening duo of Latham and Conway had blunted the Indian new ball attack and provided the platform for the likes of Williamson and co. to put up a substantial score in the first innings.
Conway was particularly impressive and followed his double hundred (on debut) at Lord’s and 80 at Birmingham with a crucial 54 off 153 deliveries in Southampton.
4. India Strike Back With Two Late Wickets
Just when it seemed that the New Zealand opening pair of Latham-Conway were set to put up a massive stand for the opening wicket, the breakthrough came for India from one of the most unexpected quarters. Latham was beaten in the air by a change of pace and the dip generated by Ashwin and was caught at short extra-cover trying to drive a flighted delivery outside the off stump. A wicket fell for New Zealand completely against the run of play.
Devon Conway had registered another Test fifty and had batted for a little over 14 overs with his captain Kane Williamson before flicking an Ishant Sharma delivery to Shami at mid-on. India had their second wicket in the last over of the day’s play and had somewhat negated the momentum built by New Zealand.