The World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand was one of the best battles in Test cricket for various reasons. Though by the end of the game the competition got a winner, it would not be wrong to say that it was a neck-and-neck fight between the two teams.
However, apart from the game between the two sides, there were also some head-to-head battles that kept going between the players during the span of 4 days when the match took place. Here are 3 such battles that hogged the limelight —
Virat Kohli vs Kyle Jamieson
Kyle Jamieson’s extra bounce from the pitch undoubtedly troubled every Indian batsman. The 6 feet 8 inches tall bowler was on the money since his first over of the game and deservingly bagged the Player of the Match award after helping New Zealand break the ICC trophy jinks of 21 years.
With the fact that Jamieson got the wicket of Virat Kohli twice in the game, one could figure out that the pacer dominated him. In the first innings, Kohli got trapped in front of the wickets to an inswinging delivery from the Kiwi all-rounder. To counter this in the second innings, the batsman stood a bit more forward than his usual stance to keep LBW out of the equation. However, getting too forward made him even more vulnerable to Jamieson whose pace did the rest this time.
Given that Kohli was batting way too forward from the popping crease, he had to read the line and length of Jamieson quicker than in usual cases. A misjudgement in the process saw Kohli absurdly nicking a ball outside the stumps and getting out.
Tom Latham vs Ravichandran Ashwin
With a career average of over 60 against the slow bowlers, Tom Latham’s batting against the Indian spinners was always going to be one of the finest battles to watch out for. However, in the WTC final, India’s veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin got the better of him on both occasions the southpaw came out to bat.
Keeping it tight by bowling on the stumps, Ashwin made sure Latham didn’t get any chance to score against him. His full length and accurate line helped him get an edge over the southpaw who often boasts of sweep shots against the spinners. Ashwin, in both the innings, beat Latham in the flight. While firstly Latham gave a catch to Virat Kohli at extra cover, he returned in the final innings only to get stumped out by Rishabh Pant.
Rohit Sharma vs New Zealand’s left-arm pacers
Rohit’s discomfort against left-arm pacers is a story known to all now. Given that New Zealand stepped into the game with two quality left-arm pacers in Trent Boult - with whom Rohit shares a forgettable record - and Neil Wagner, Rohit's technique and mental strength were going to be the biggest talking points. However, this time, the story couldn’t repeat itself as Rohit came prepared for the duo and looked solid in his defence.
In both the innings, Rohit didn’t let any left-hander dismiss him, however, he fell prey to some terrific bowling from Jamieson (1st innings) and Tim Southee (2nd innings).