Southampton, Jun 22 (PTI) The World Test Championship Final seems to be heading for a tight finish after both India and New Zealand battled hard on the fifth day of the rain-hit showpiece match here on Tuesday.
India pacer Mohammed Shami sizzled with a four-wicket haul but could not stop New Zealand from taking a crucial 32-run lead as the Black Caps scored 249 runs after resuming at 101 for two.
India, who scored 217 runs in their first innings, then ended the fifth day at 64 for two with a 32-run lead in their pocket.
Rohit Sharma (30) was watchful until he misread a straighter one from Tim Southee that caught him in front of the wicket towards the end of day's play. This was after Southee had already dismissed Shubhman Gill (8).
Ever-reliable Cheteshwar Pujara (12) and skipper Virat Kohli (8) were at the crease at stumps.
With three full sessions to play and a favourable forecast announced for the reserve day on Wednesday, the sixth day will come with the possibility of a draw as well as a result.
India took the upper hand in the morning session by removing three batsmen but Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson (49) and his lower-order colleagues Kyle Jamieson (21) and Tim Southee (30) seized the momentum with their smart batting approach.
Shami, who hit the good length consistently, scalped Ross Taylor (11), BJ Watling (1), Colin de Grandhomme (13) and Kyle Jamieson (21).
Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin shared five wickets between them while Ravindra Jadeja took one wicket.
New Zealand had ended the third day at 101 for two. Not a single ball was bowled on the fourth day due to inclement weather.
Brief Scores: India: 217 and 64 for 2 in 30 overs (R Sharma 30; T Southee 2/17) New Zealand 1st innings: 249 all out in 99.2 overs. (Devon Conway 54, Kane Williamson 49, Tom Latham 30; Mohammed Shami 4/76, Ishant Sharma 3/48). PTI AT AT AT