Unlike most contests, India weren't the favourites at start of the World Test Championship final in Southampton, but weren't written off either. Their ability to overcome through adverse situations, and a quality bowling attack, put India almost at par with New Zealand who headed into the contest on the back of a 1-0 series win in England a week before. The bowlers, inspired by a daunting Mohammed Shami and crafty Ravichandran Ashwin, did put New Zealand under pressure, but the batting frailties, as admitted by skipper Virat Kohli, cost India the WTC title.
We take a look at the five moments that defined India's fate at the World Test Championship final.
Kyle Jamieson's dismissal of Virat Kohli on Day 3
Bad light had resulted in an early stumps on Day 2, but with India well-placed on 146 for three with captain Kohli on an unbeaten 44, batting arguably better than his 2018 tour of England. His hundred looked inevitable and a 300-plus total looked well in sight for India. But all hopes came crashing down when Jamieson perfectly set up Kohli with a rare jaffa that shaped back in sharply early on the third morning, as the captain walked back without adding to his overnight score.
Jamieson went on to complete his fifth five-wicket haul, in just his eighth Test, all during the WTC campaign, to script India's collapse from an imperious position, for just 71 runs.
Stung by the tail again
Shami's formidable bowling left New Zealand wounded, providing India with the hope of restricting the Kiwis with a first-innings deficit. But the likes of Jamieson and Tim Southee had other plans.
Jamieson scored a quickfire 16-ball 21, while Southee added 30 off 46 as the New Zealand lower-order added 87 for the loss of four wickets after the fall of the sixth wicket. New Zealand eventually finished with 249 runs, taking a 32-run lead.
This has been India's perennial problem in Test cricket. In their previous two Tests against New Zealand, in 2020, both of which were part of the WTC, the tail-enders scored 123 for four in Wellington and 82 for three in Christchurch. Since 2018, the opposition tail has averaged 15.19 with six fifties and struck 48 sixes against Indian bowlers, the most against any team.
Southee plots openers' fall in second innings
Shubman Gill loves to play the on-drive and Southee risked a few runs to to target the leg stump with the inswinger and eventually gets the job done. It beat the inside edge to hit him low on the front pad plumb in front of the middle. On returning for his second spell, Southee dished out the three-quarter wobble seam delivery that nipped in leaving Rohit befuddled as he shouldered arms to the ball.
Had India not lost any of their openers at the end of day 5, India would have held a superior position at the start of the reserve sixth day. But Southee's double whammy set up all sorts of possibilities for either side.
Jamieson strikes again
A change in stance after the horrors of the 2014 England tour left Kohli vulnerable for the lbw dismissal. Bowlers have since tended to draw Kohli across and then bowl the lbw delivery. Vernon Philander had shown the way in the 2018 series, Jamieson did it twice in his eight-Test career one of which was in this Test. But in the second innings, with the pitch not offering enough, he tested both sides of willow, going wide of the crease for the lbw and bowl the outswinger. However, it was short of the length and through-the-corridor delivery that dismissed Kohli as poked the ball straight to the wicketkeeper, bring back memories of 2014. The Indian skipper departed for 13 off 29.
A few overs later, he got the better of Cheteshwar Pujara as well, who edged the ball to first slip. The overnight pair managed to add just eight runs to the board, while going 4 down with a lead of just 40.