Indian bowlers need to find swing better to come back into the WTC final on Day 4, feels Aakash Chopra
Former India opener Aakash Chopra believes New Zealand are under a bit more pressure than India despite having posted 101 for 2 after bowling Virat Kohlis men for 217 on Day 3 of the World Test Championship final in Southampton.
Aakash Chopra said New Zealand needs a lead of around 150 runs if they are to seize advantage after having opted to bowl first in the historic one-off final at the Ageas Bowl. Chopra said New Zealand will know they are not out of the woods yet despite a dominant performance with both the bat and the ball on Sunday, considering they have to bat last in the Test.
After play was abandoned without a ball bowled on Day 1, India managed to come up with a fine batting show with their captain Kohli leading from the front on Saturday. On a stop-start day, India managed to focus and headed to Stumps on 146 for 3. However, things changed dramatically on an overcast morning on Sunday.
India lost Kohli on 44 after the skipper failed to add to his overnight tally. Kyle Jamieson picked up the big wicket and jolted India further with the wicket of Rishabh Pant (4) early. With Ajiinkya Rahane throwing his wicket away for 49, India slipped from 149 for 3 to 217 all-out. Jamieson ran through the Indian batting unit with figures of 5 for 31.
In response, India did not manage to find as much swing as New Zealand but kept the run flow in check. However, openers Devon Conway and Tom Latham added 70 runs before R Ashwin struck in the 35th over removing the latter for 30. Captain Kane Williamson offered good support to Conway, who got to his 3rd fifty-plus score in Tests.
However, India finished the day with something to cheer for as Ishant Shamra removed Conway on 54 before bad light forced early stumps.
"They (New Zealand) also have to look at where India were. They were 146 for 3, two set batsmen but come next morning, its a different world altogether. The ball is moving again, you find the edges, Indias tail hasnt wagged, the middle-order has collapsed and you havent reached where you wanted to reach. Similar things can unfold tomorrow as well," Aakash Chopra told Star Sports.
"So from a New Zealand point of view, they know they are not out of the woods at all. Keep in mind, the moment you bowl first, you have to bat last and you have to bat the opposition out. So a 30-40 run lead is insignificant. You have to take at least a 150-run lead to make a match of it, seal the advantage of bowling first.
"I actually feel there is more pressure on New Zealand as compared to India. India will be backing itself.
Aakash Chopra though pointed out that India fast bowlers have to be able to find swing on Day 4 to make sure they trouble the high-quality New Zealand middle-order. He also added that Ashwin might prove to be a big threat with the ball, considering the assistance he was able to get from the pitch on Sunday.
"Things might change, Ashwin has already got a wicket. He is getting a bit of turn. Swing is the only area where Indian bowlers are lagging behind, not the discipline nor the effort. Ishant was the only Indian bowler who was able to swing.
"Tomorrow is the day where India fast bowlers need to find swing. If they are able to do that, the match will swing in Indias favour," Chopra added.
The WTC Final will head into the reserve day if a result isnt produced inside the first 5 days.