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India-New Zealand WTC final: The big match-ups

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Southampton, June 17 (IANS) With less than a day to go for the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand to begin here on Friday, IANS looks at some of the key match-ups:

Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult:

Sharma has played only one Test in England and experts say he has a weakness against the moving ball, especially one that comes in from a left-arm seamer. Former Pakistan pace bowler Mohammed Amir exploited it during the 2017 Champions Trophy final and even before too. Former India batsman has asked the India opener to be careful against Boult.

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Virat Kohli vs Kyle Jamieson:

The tall New Zealand pace bowler turned down his Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Kohli’s request of bowling to him at nets with a Dukes ball that he was carrying with him during the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). But Kohli would have faced him in the IPL nets with a white and got some idea. The steep bounce could be hot to handle.

Ross Taylor vs R Ashwin/ R Jadeja:

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Taylor, who average of 33.83 against India is almost 12 runs below his career average of 45.76, has been dismissed 54 times by a spinner out of 164 times. But his average of 44.55 against the slow bowlers is higher than his average of 33.28 against pace bowlers. Part of the reason is that on wickets outside India, the spinners don’t get much purchase. How Ashwin and Jadeja bowl to the New Zealand No. 4 will be key. Taylor, 37, has fallen to right-arm spin 30 times and left-arm spin 24 times.

Devon Conway vs Jasprit Bumrah:

New Zealand’s South African import became only the sixth batsman to score a debut ton at Lord’s and the first to score a double on Test debut at Lord’s was the Man-of-the-Series in the recent two-Test series against England. He is known to play the ball late. But how he reads pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s quick-arm action will be interesting. Bumrah’s natural delivery goes away from him and he may have to be watchful.

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Kane Williamson vs Ishant Sharma/Mohammed Shami:

New Zealand captain Williamson has a poor record in England (an average of 26.1 as against a career average of 53.6) and Ishant Sharma, on his fourth tour of England and having experience of county cricket with Sussex which gave his career a fresh lease, will be targeting his knee roll to get the leg-before wicket decision. The Kiwi, however, has a tight defence and a battle of attrition may ensue. Williamson could also face the challenge of deliveries of landing on seam from Mohammed Shami.

–IANS

kh/qma

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