New Zealand pacer Tim Southee has said that his team would have liked a slightly bigger lead in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India in Southampton. However, he added that they were satisfied to go past India’s score after looking in serious trouble at one point.
Resuming the day on 101 for 2, New Zealand lost their way and found themselves at a somewhat precarious 162 for 6. However, captain Kane Williamson’s 49 and handy cameos from Tim Southee (30) and Kyle Jamieson (21) gave New Zealand a handy 32-run lead over India.
At a virtual press conference following the fifth day’s play, Tim Southee revealed New Zealand’s game plan after the middle order failed to deliver on Tuesday. He explained:
“Initially, I was trying to hang around with Kane (Williamson) and trying to scrap for a few runs. Then, when the bowlers got together, it was about us getting as many as we could. I think we did well, from the position we were in, to eke out a little lead. Again, we would have liked a little more of a lead, but to have that buffer was nice as well.”
Tim Southee admitted that captain Williamson’s knock was crucial in the context of the game, as the Indian bowlers were on top, having picked up a number of wickets. According to the 32-year-old, Williamson batted through a highly challenging period. Southee said about his captain’s innings:
“It was crucial. It was a tough time this morning (Tuesday). The Indian bowling attack asked a lot of tough questions. They got off to a great start and put us under a lot of pressure. He (Williamson) was able to hang tight, dig deep and battle his way through what was a tough situation. He is a class player, and he has a sound defence, which he fully trusts. It was a pretty testing time with the Indian pace attack (bowling well)."
As a player, you are always looking to expand your game: Tim Southee
After doing a good job with the bat, Tim Southee starred with the ball as well for the Black Caps.
He trapped Shubman Gill (8) lbw when the batsman played around his pad and lost shape. Towards the end of the day, Southee also got the massive scalp of Rohit Sharma (30), leg before with one that jagged back in sharply, with the batsman not offering a stroke. Reflecting on the two dismissals, Tim Southee said in this regard:
“As the game goes on and the wicket starts to deteriorate, you try to bring in the stumps a little more. It was nice to see one nip back in first up and then a little bit of swing back in as well. As a player, you are always looking at different ways to expand your game. It has been one of the ways I have looked to develop my game especially with the Dukes ball, looking to swing that a little bit more.”
India head into the Reserve Day of the WTC final at 64 for 2, with a slender lead of 32 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara is batting on 12 while captain Virat Kohli is on 8.