After bowling out Virat Kohli’s side for 217, the Kiwis managed to take a lead of 32 runs, which is substantial considering the low-scoring nature of this particular match in bowling-friendly conditions.
Tim Southee, who himself played an entertaining but crucial knock of 30 runs ladened with a four and a couple of sixes, acknowledged that the Indian bowlers bowled brilliantly to have them reeling at 135/5.
From there skipper Kane Williamson grinded hard in support of Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee, who reckons although they would have wished for more runs, they are content with whatever extra cushion they gained from a difficult position.
“Initially, I was trying to hang around with Kane (Williamson) and trying to scrap for a few runs. Then, when the bowlers got together, it was about us getting as many as we could.
“I think we did well, from the position we were in, to eke out a little lead. Again, we would have liked a little more of a lead, but to have that buffer was nice as well,” Tim Southee said in the post-day virtual press conference.
Williamson able to hang tight, dig deep and battle his way through a tough situation: Tim Southee
Kane Williamson had a hard time getting off the blocks. Apart from the nagging lines and lengths from the Indian pacers, the Kiwi skipper also had to deal with his troublesome elbow, which had kept him out of the second England Test.
The right-hander was extremely patient in the first session on Day 5 scoring at snail’s pace leaving and defending a heavy number of balls; he ended his innings at the score of 49 off 177 balls but had taken his side into the lead by then.
Tim Southee, who would later go on to take the wickets of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma in the second innings, applauded his skipper’s tenacity for battling his way in a tough situation in the first session.
“It was crucial. It was a tough time this morning (Tuesday). The Indian bowling attack asked a lot of tough questions. They got off to a great start and put us under a lot of pressure.
“He (Williamson) was able to hang tight, dig deep and battle his way through what was a tough situation. He is a class player, and he has a sound defence, which he fully trusts. It was a pretty testing time with the Indian pace attack (bowling well),” the 32-year-old pacer stated.