On a day wickets fell in a heap — 16 altogether — it was difficult to pinpoint a specific contest-altering moment. Yet, there were moments that influenced a helter-skelter day in Christchurch.
Moment 1: Mohammad Shami vs Tom Latham
The most dangerous batsman on the day was Tom Latham, who showed resolve and application to complete his half-century, before being undone by a Mohammed Shami peach. The Indian seamer, in a terrific forenoon spell, kept bowling in the corridor, making the ball shape into the southpaw. But the bounce in the surface meant that Latham could leave the ball on length. Then Shami snuck in his skidder, a similarly-pitched delivery to previous ones, but rather than climbing onto the batsman, it skidded on at a lower trajectory. Latham shouldered arms, only to see his stumps rattled.
Moment 2: Ravindra Jadeja’s ‘catch of the decade’
Misjudged catches can look more spectacular than they actually are. As soon as Neil Wagner skied the ball towards deep square-leg, Jadeja began sprinting towards it, but soon realised that he had sort of over-reached it. But he made no fuss, just arched his body like a rainbow, flung backward and stretched his left-hand at the ball. Like an adhesive, it just stuck in his palms. A superb piece of athleticism and agility of mind. Realising that he had misjudged the catch, Jadeja made quick amends by virtue of his elasticity. It came at a crucial juncture of the match when Wagner and Kyle Jamieson had brought up the second-highest partnership for New Zealand in the innings and were eating into India’s first innings total.
Moment 3: Trent Boult vs Cheteshwar Pujara
Arguably the most important strike of the day. India’s lone flickering hope in the second innings was Cheteshwar Pujara. He was batting untroubled, taking India to safety without further dentures. Then came Trent Boult, for his final burst of the evening. The ball, until then, had done nothing untoward. There was movement, but not disconcerting. But Boult produced a moment of magic. He came around the wicket, and from wide of the crease cajoled the ball to seam noticeably into Pujara. The latter had sized up the angle but did not factor in the movement. He tried to defend, but the space between bat and pad was adequate for the ball to sneak in and disfigure his stumps.
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