India vs New Zealand day 3, 3rd Test: After posting a huge first innings score, Indian team suffered the first setback early in New Zealand’s first innings. They failed to effect a breakthrough and allowed them to canter to 125 for 1 on day 3. While that score looks big, the fact that India has taken the wicket of Tom Latham bodes well for them. He has been consistently in form and getting him out for 53 will be a great booster for India.
However, the other Kiwi batsmen are doing well and that will worry Virat Kohli. The reason is that this is the 3rd day pitch and and his bowlers are not being able to get their line and length right and even worse the spinners are not getting enough bite from the wicket. Except R Ashwin who dismissed Latham, the other bowlers have not been incisive enough to take a wicket. And they are not looking like taking one either. Even Ashwin has been good in patches.
That brings the responsibility of getting a breakthrough squarely back on Virat Kohli. He needs one quickly to effect a whitewash and cement India’s position as the World No. 1 on ICC ranking list. And that will depend on how well he notices weaknesses in the Kiwi batsmen and then manufactures a strategy to exploit it to India’s advantage.
Rotating bowlers is one such strategy, but that is clearly not going to work. In fact, if that strategy was going to work, it would have done so by now. Kohli needs horses for courses and that will depend on his reading of the match as well as the batmen’s weaknesses. Kohli needs to do this fast as he cannot allow the Kiwis to dig in for a long innings as the 5th day is not too far away.
A splendid day of cricket is on cards as Kiwis are not really plodding along. The runs are coming at good pace and they will be looking to sign off the this Test with some pride as they have been totally outplayed by the Indians. Will they declare after passing the follow-on score and hope Kphli does the same in a sporting manner that will give Kiwis a glimpse of a victory? Anything can happen with Virat Kohli in charge!
Brief Scores: India 1st Innings 557/5 decl.
New Zealand 1st Innings 125/1. Martin Guptill 59 batting and Kane Williamson 3 batting.