Much was said about Mohammed Shami's form heading into the World Test Championship Final Test against New Zealand and the pacer just showed why he has been among the best bowlers in world cricket today when his magical spell on Day 5 left many, mostly Kiwi batsmen, spellbound.
His incisive swing bowling brought India back in the contest but New Zealand did gain some ground as New Zealand removed both Indian openers in the second innings with India heading into the last day at 64 for 2 with a lead of 32 runs.
Shami after a mesmerising morning spell, got a couple of more wickets in the post-lunch session. He dismissed Colin de Grandhomme with a delivery that angled in and Jamieson with a bouncer.
India's senior-most player Ishant Sharma (25-9-48-3) denied half-century to a dogged skipper Kane Williamson (49) with a classic Test match dismissal -- a delivery rearing up and shaping out which was edged to Virat Kohli at third slip.
Sensing that mere survival would spell doom, New Zealand scored 114 runs in the post lunch session even as Shami and Ishant remained standout performer bowling their hearts out. Such was Shami's domination in the first session that Williamson managed only seven runs in an entire session of play.
Ross Taylor (11) was dismissed as Shami reaped the rewards for finding the fuller "English" length which enticed the batsman to go for a drive. Shubman Gill, at short cover, took a brilliant diving catch.
Ishant then had the normally dependable Henry Nicholls (7), who went for a 'fishing expedition' when the lanky speedster pushed his length-fuller by a yard and the edge at second slip was taken by Rohit Sharma.
BJ Watling (1), in his last Test, got a ball that would have put the best in the business in trouble.
Shami, who by then had started bossing the batsmen, bowled one that looked like shaping in but held its line after pitching, clipping the off-bail in the process. From 117 for 2, New Zealand were reeling at 135 for 5 in no time.
Apart from the immaculate length that he hit time and again, the other hallmark of Shami's spell was how he used the crease. When he intended to bowl outswing, he would come closer to the stumps and would move the ball.
(With inputs from PTI).