Oh we are into the crazies. Neil Wagner is running in with a field set for the short ball, and has peppered both Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja before getting him nicking a length ball. The angle he creates from round the wicket is so good it needs to be checked for a no-ball. That’s what makes New Zealand. When the pitch is not doing much for them, when things are not happening, they have Neil Wagner. What this barrage has done is stem the flow of runs first and then take the wicket too. And he has done this in the 10th over of his current spell, bowled either side of lunch.
India 142 for 6 in 62.5 overs. Leading by 110.
Rishabh Pant, an absolute original
After dancing down the wicket to almost everyone, now he is trying to counter Neil Wagner’s short-ball barrage by trying to ramp-pull and reverse-pull. The second of those he pulled off too, keeping it down, and taking a single to third man. There might be some in the future, but there never hasn’t been any like him in the past. While all this is happening, he has nearly run himself out trying to steal a single and being surprised by a kick-throw from Devon Conway.
India 142 for 5 in 62 overs. Leading by 110 with three-and-a-half regulation hours or 66 overs remaining.
But chaos is also a ladder. New Zealand’s official handle tweeted BJ Watling, in his last Test, was being substituted by Tom Blundell after he dislocated his finger in the first session. It appears there has been a late change of mind and Watling it is on the field. Anyway, what a session coming up. Watling will hope this is his last on the field. That India are not batting in the next session nor does Watling have to bat himself in that final session.
Final lunch of this WTC
Had you offered New Zealand the wickets of India’s big three before this session, New Zealand would have taken it eyes closed, but that dropped catch and the subsequent quick runs might disappoint them a little. Twenty-five overs have gone for 66 runs and three wickets with Rishabh Pant dropped early and now unbeaten on 28 and in an unbroken 30-ball 21-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja. India lead by 98, have five wickets in hand, and they believe it is not about time but runs. The conditions, though, are not that difficult. The sun has been out, and relatively speaking, this is the best time to bat out there. Can’t wait for the defining session coming up. See you soon.
Rishabh Pant, eh?
There will be more than a handful disapproving raises of eyebrows at the way Rishabh Pant has been batting here. Charging at Neil Wagner, swinging away, taking a lot of risks. He has been in control of two of every three balls he has faced. I am not going to go either way about his approach/method here, but I will just remind you his batting against Nathan Lyon at SCG was filled with more risk than what he has been doing here. Pant has not changed the way he bats. He got crucified for it before he was lionised for it, and you know what will happen if he skies one here. India 121 for 5 in 52 overs, leading 89, looking for quick runs.
New Zealand finally get a break
This partnership has been full of plays and misses and highly risky adventure, but in the end a nothing delivery down the leg side takes the glove from Ajinkya Rahane. Second leg-side strangle for Trent Boult this Test. Cricket, you bewitching sport. India 109 for 5. Leading by 77. Rahane gone for 15 off 40.
Pant, Rahane, stayin’ alive
The way Rishabh Pant and Ajinkya Rahane have batted since that dropped catch, one thing is certain: they don’t think just batting time is going to be enough to stop New Zealand. There has been much more attacking intent from them. These are the batsmen who like to attack when in doubt. Rahane has been beaten three times outside off by Trent Boult when hitting away from the body. Pant has been charging at Neil Wagner, and has managed to survive edges and plays and misses while hitting two boundaries too. The control percentage in this partnership hangs around 75, but India have put together 37 quickish runs.
One hour gone
New Zealand have taken 2 for 25 in the first hour in 13 overs. They will have taken this if you had offered them at the start of the day, but on a day that, you’d imagine, New Zealand can’t afford a mistake, how much will that drop of Rishabh Pant cost New Zealand? We might see a new form of attack post drinks. Neil Wagner to go short to Ajinkya Rahane again? He got him that way in New Zealand too and also in the first innings here. India 89 for 4 in 43 overs. Practically 57 for 4.
Andrew Miller sums up all the craziness of that hour here
It’s accepted wisdom that India’s stunning victory at Kolkata in 2000-01 changed forever the attitude of Test teams to the follow-on. The same could arguably be said about Adelaide 2006-07 and the third innings.
Even in the annals of English Ashes misery, Adelaide holds an especially hideous allure. But what transpired that final day has arguably informed the attitudes towards what is possible today in the World Test Championship final – even in a contest that has seemed a nailed-on draw all week.
Who in their right mind could look at a scoreline of 64 for 2 in the third innings after the week that we have endured, and genuinely believe that a contest could yet erupt? Pretty much everyone it turns out, not least Kyle Jamieson.
But, to dig back into the horrors of that December day, 15 years ago, a chasm of possibilities opened up beneath England’s innings after an inopportune start to their day, much as India’s batters will be feeling right now. Stick or twist? Hang tough or cut loose? Die wondering, or die hard?
At Adelaide, for rain, read runs – reams of them. Paul Collingwood made a double century, Kevin Pietersen made 158. Ricky Ponting responded with a monster of own, as both teams posted 500-plus first innings to leave the denouement an apparent formality. But then, at 59 for 1 on the final morning – a lead of 97 that was vastly more comfortable than India’s overnight advantage of 32 – the doubts began to swirl. Andrew Strauss got a shocker, and Ian Bell lost his head. Pietersen, hours after declaring he’d mastered Shane Warne’s leg-stump line, was bowled round his legs on the sweep.
And so it came down to the big question. Where now from here? Collingwood opted for dead-body attrition – clinging to the life-raft for 22 not out from 119 balls, but none of his team-mates dared to come out of their shells before they had been picked off by Warne, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath. A slow, strung-out death ensued over the course of a mesmerising afternoon, until Australia were left with a 168-run victory gallop in the final session.
And so at drinks, India are 57 runs to the good, with six wickets liable to be lost before the close. Stick or twist? Rishabh Pant, his mind arguably made up following his tentative reprieve at slip, tends to know only one way. It may be his team’s best option from here.
There has been some excellent slip catching displayed by New Zealand this summer. Not just this summer but this WTC cycle and beyond. However, Tim Southee, who took a lovely low catch for the firs wicket of the match, has now dropped two. Rishabh Pant nearly provided an action replay of his first-innings dismissal off Kyle Jamieson, Southee went in front of first slip, had it at a comfortable catching height, but spilled it. This one was easier than his drop of Ravindra Jadeja in the first innings. Can New Zealand keep producing enough opportunities to make up for this?
India 85 for 4 in 41 overs, leading by 53.
His Highness Kyle Jamieson
In the most batting-friendly conditions of this Test, against one of the best batsmen of all time, Kyle Jamieson works out a wicket when things did begin to look flat. Virat Kohli will of course not be happy with the dismissal but Jamieson has also set this dismissal up.
Seamers all over keep looking to drag Kohli across and then bowl the lbw ball, which is how Jamieson got him in the first innings. Here, though, there hasn’t been enough seam movement available. So Jamieson has gone both ways: bowl an outswinger, then go wide on the crease looking for the lbw. The outswinger missed the edge, the one from wide of the crease did too much. Then he also went into the locker for bounce from short of a length. Kohli left one alone, but with this eventual one, he just pushed, which is the half-way thing that used to get him out in 2014. Neither going hard nor leaving it alone. Tall bowlers who have shown previously they can bring it in tend to do that to you. Kohli gone for 13 off 29. Jamieson to Kohli in Test cricket: 84 balls, 30 runs, three wickets.
And while I type it out, Jamieson has done the same to Cheteshwar Pujara. He has these batsmen looking for the ball coming in. Pujara is worried about it, moves forward to a length ball and tries to cover that movement, but the ball holds its line for an edge through to first slip. Pujara gone for 15 off 80. India 72 for 4, having added just 8 runs in 35 minutes. India lead by 40.
Dale Steyn on the Tim Southee inswinger
Last dance with MaryJane
And so it has come to this. Final day of the Test, the reserve day, to decide who takes the World Test Championship. It would appear India’s best shot now is to share it with New Zealand but stranger things have happened in cricket. How many overs do New Zealand realistically need to bat to win? If they can tie India up, they could even win this in 45, meaning they need to take the remaining eight Indian wicket in 50 overs. If they bowl economically, that is.
There will be a lot of discussion on how these sides will approach this final day, but I think they will just play their normal cricket. Cheteshwar Pujara won’t suddenly try to set up a declaration, and Virat Kohli won’t suddenly shut shop. Don’t forget that batting time is not the only route available to India. Scoring runs also plays New Zealand out.
New Zealand, too, will look to bowl normally. Keep the runs down, bowl good balls, and create about 80-90 false responses. They have five seam bowlers. They will just hope for more help from the pitch than they got in the evening session.
The weather, as if to tease us, is glorious finally. Is it too late? Or do we have a glorious final session still left? Drawing and sharing the trophy is all well and good, but nothing is quite the same as winning it outright. Does a side have enough skill, luck and time? We will start finding out in half an hour.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo