World Test Championship final set for thrilling end as India and New Zealand trade blows

Virat Kohli's team lead by 32 with eight wickets in hand in Southampton

The World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand was on a knife's edge at stumps on day five of the Southampton clash.

India were 64-2 at the end of an extended day's play on Tuesday, which would have been the final day of action. But with rain resulting in substantial loss of overs during the one-off title match, the reserve day has been activated, which means we could still have a winner.

Virat Kohli was batting on eight and Cheteshwar Pujara on 12 to give the Indians a slender lead of 32.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson held the innings together with a battling 49 off 177 balls as India's seamers capitalised on helpful conditions. Fast bowler Mohammed Shami was the most potent of Indian quicks, picking up 4-76 as the Black Caps were dismissed for 249 in reply to the Indians' first innings score of 217.

Kohli's team could have taken a first innings lead, but for some late order fireworks by Kyle Jamieson (21) and Tim Southee (30). Instead, the men in blue began the second essay 32 in arrears.

There was a delayed start to fifth day's play as well and once New Zealand resumed on 101-2, India clawed back in the contest after Kohli made three inspired bowling changes.

The experienced Williamson and Ross Taylor added just 16 runs in the first 13 overs as Indian seamers gave nothing away.

But Shami had Taylor out for just 11 when a mistimed drive was caught by Shubman Gill at extra-cover.

Ishant, bowling from around the wicket, then had left-hander Nicholls caught by Rohit Sharma at second slip.

Soon, the Kiwis lost half their side when Shami clean bowled BJ Watling, playing his last match before retirement, with a superb delivery that hit the top of middle and off.

Jamieson, who took five wickets in India's innings, drove Shami for a straight six only to fall to the very next delivery when a top-edged hook was well caught at fine leg by Jasprit Bumrah.

Williamson's long vigil ended when he steered Ishant to Kohli at second slip, with New Zealand 221-8.

Tailenders Southee and Trent Boult both hit sixes before the innings ended when Southee played on to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for 30. Ishant finished with figures of 3-48, while Jasprit Bumrah surprisingly went wicketless.

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