WTC Final: New Zealand needs to be at the top of its game on final day to beat India, says Tim Southee

New Zealand seamer Tim Southee says New Zealand will have a tough final day against a quality Indian batting lineup.

Tim Southee celebrates after the dismissal of Rohit Sharma on Day Five. - AP

Tim Southee has never played a six-day Test in his long international career and as he gears up for the final day of the World Test Championship summit clash against India, the New Zealand pace ace is excited.

“It's obviously unique for cricket, and with the weather that's been around, it's nice to have that extra day up our sleeve. It's very exciting any time you turn up to a Test match with all three results still possible on the last day,” Southee said in a media interaction on Tuesday.

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After managing a slender lead of 32 runs in the first innings, Southee grabbed two crucial wickets of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in the final session to put New Zealand in a commanding position. But the seasoned campaigner believes that the first session on Wednesday will set the tone for an “intriguing day.”

“We'll rest up tonight, come tomorrow with a plan on how we want to attack the day. But yeah, it's exciting to end up on the last day of a Test match with three results still possible. Yeah, I think the first hour, first couple hours is very crucial tomorrow,” he said.

“We know we've got a tough day ahead of us. It's a quality Indian batting lineup with two of their best in the crease at the moment. We're going to have to be on top of our game tomorrow.”

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Even after restricting India to 217 in the first innings, New Zealand was languishing at 162 for six at one stage. But with the tail-enders - including Southee himself - holding fort, the Black Caps could eventually score 249.

 

“We would have liked to get a few more (runs), get a bit of lead of over 50, but I think the Indian side were outstanding with the ball and put us under pressure at the start of the day. So for us to sneak past and get a 30-odd run lead was nice in the end,” Southee said.

He also lauded captain Kane Williamson’s 49-run innings - which eventually helped New Zealand overcome the rough patch. “Obviously it was a tough time this morning. I think the Indian bowling asked a lot of tough questions and got off to a great start this morning and put us under a lot of pressure, and he (Williamson) was able to hang tight and dig deep and just sort of battle his way through what was a tough situation there for a while,” he said.

“He's a class player, and he's got a very sound offence that he was in full trust with, and as I say, it was a pretty testing time there with what the Indian pace attack was throwing at him.”

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