WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
India v New Zealand
Day 4, 5 & 6
New Zealand deservedly inscribed their name on the inaugural World Test Championship crown, leaving Team India and their fans crestfallen on Day 6 at the Hampshire Bowl.
Irfan Pathan, offering special guest analysis in the HotStar studio initially lay the blame for India's dismal second innings batting on Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin's poor shot selection.
The fact is, India's famed top 5 specialist batsmen succumbed with 109 on the board, 77 after taking away the 32-run first innings deficit.
India's specialist batsmen, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli and vice captain Ajinkya Rahane were poorly prepared for The Ultimate Test.
India's legendary opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar, now commentating, was quick to remark that the reserve day offered no rain and plenty of sun along with a pitch good for batting.
These benefits were grabbed and enjoyed by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, just when their team needed them.
The final moments at the Hampshire Bowl had more of New Zealand fans and supporters singing on chorus: "The trophy is coming home."
There were no drums, dhols and bhangra that were omnipresent on all days of the match except the later part of Day 6.
Kane Williamson and Team India seem to conspire for a draw on a day when it wasn't raining at the Hampshire Bowl on Day 5.
However, a Test match and those who play it know that it's a game of patience.
The New Zealand skipper had bolted one end until he succumbed to a dogged, defensive 49 from 177 deliveries.
Team India's pace attack, on the other hand, gave you a feeling that they were either content bowling for a draw or they did not possess any wicket taking deliveries.
All this changed when both, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma found their incisive length to bowl and with it their mojo.
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The New Zealand first innings ended with a 32-run lead. In reply, India ended the day on 64 for 2, with captain Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease.
Their target is likely 250 and batting at least until lunch before trying to get 10 New Zealand wickets to win The Ultimate Test.
The reserve day, Day 6, is up for excitement and fireworks from both teams. If it doesn't rain.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain continues to believe that there's a collapse hidden in this match. Former New Zealand bowler Simon Doull too feels any of the three results, a draw, or win for India or New Zealand is possible on Day 6.
"The logical bet is for a draw now..." says the commentary that Google search has posted along with the scorecard of the match on Day 4.
The commentary then makes an addition with "...but in Test cricket or cricket in particular, you can never rule out a collapse."
Day 4 was again, like the opening day, a complete washout.
There was lot of fun though in the stands at the Hampshire Bowl.
And although the probability metre on the Google search scorecard shows the match is heading 80% to a draw, the commentary has left scope for speculation by broaching the collapse scenario.
India suffered a collapse recently in Adelaide, Australia. That was playing with the notorious pink ball.
The WTC final is played with the red Dukes cricket balls, manufactured by the British Cricket Balls Limited.
Irrespective of the colour of the ball, do you think there could be a collapse in this match?
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The Cricinfo says "India and New Zealand now have a maximum of 196 overs - including the reserve day - to identify an outright winner."
Should there be a result, this indeed would be The Ultimate Test, the tagline chosen to promote this match.
The rainy and gloomy scene was captured aptly and tweeted by the match broadcaster Star Sports.
Day 6, the reserve day was primed to be included from Day 1 when more than 150 minutes were lost to rain.
Nikesh Rughani, Commentator/reporter @bbcsportn too feels there's a possibility, more than probability of a result.