Kane Williamson-led New Zealand created history by winning the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton by defeating India by eight wickets. The Blackcaps definitely had an edge over India, ahead of the WTC final, having played two Tests against England and winning the series 1-0, which clearly helped them to ace the mega-Test. The Kiwis looked comfortable throughout the final despite rain affecting the summit clash and dominating the Indian side.
With Kohli’s men not being able to perform up to the mark, New Zealand deserved to win this historic Test, outplaying the Indian side in all departments. Despite being one of the top sides in Test cricket, walking in as favourites for the WTC final with an experienced core led by Kohli, the Indian team still couldn’t perform to their best. Here we look at what went wrong for India and analyze the top 3 mistakes that cost the side World Test Championship final.
1. India’s batting collapses
The World Test Championship final was affected by innumerous odds, including heavy rain, wet outfield, bad light amongst others, which led to forced washouts of many sessions. Despite all odds, when the game started on Day 2, India looked a bit stable initially, with the opening partnership brimming a bit before Kiwi pacers gave a breakthrough by dismissing India’s top order. New Zealand’s seamers wicket-taking ability accelerated a bit on Day 3, with India getting all out for 217 runs, despite being 146/3 at stumps on Day 2. The batting collapse was far more evident in India’s second innings with Kohli’s men following prey to Kiwi seamers on Day 6. The consequent batting collapses in both the innings by the Indian side with lack of contribution by Indian tailenders led to the ultimate fall of India’s batting lineup.
2. Inability to dismiss New Zealand's lower order
Though the pitch had a lot to do with swing, which worked well for the Kiwi pacers, with Kyle Jamieson taking a five-wicket haul in the first innings, the Indian bowlers struggled to make the most of it. Although Ishant Sharma might have received a bit of swing in the 1st innings, India’s key pacer Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami looked ineffective with the new ball. However, Shami’s quick wickets to dismiss New Zealand’s middle-order helped the Indian side to limit the Kiwi batsmen and brought India back into the contest. On the other hand, while India’s lower order collapsed, the Kiwi tailenders made a significant contribution in the first innings. Nonetheless, India’s pace bowling attack looked inconsistent in the seam movement unlike their opponents, which made a big difference and cost India the final.
3. Jasprit Bumrah’s off-day; failure to pick wickets
On a pitch that favoured seamers, India’s key pacer Jasprit Bumrah failed to pick even a single wicket in the game. The 27-year-old is the only Indian bowler to return wicket-less from the WTC final. Although there were a couple of wicket-taking chances, dropped catches from the fielders added to the trouble. Even when Bumrah walked down to bat, he got out on a duck in both the innings, clearly marking his off-day at work with almost nothing falling right for him. The World Test Championship final was undoubtedly a forgettable match for Bumrah where he failed to deliver at the biggest stage when India needed him the most.