Kyle Jamieson and Devon Conway continued their magnificent starts to life in the longest format to put New Zealand in charge of the rain-affected World Test Championship final against India.
A first-day washout at the Ageas Bowl before Saturday's action was truncated by bad light means a positive result might not be possible, even allowing for Wednesday's reserve day.
However, towering seamer Jamieson (5-31) picked up his fifth five-for in eight Tests as India were dismissed for 217 under leaden skies before opener Conway (54) passed 50 for the third time in five innings to help Kane Williamson's men close on 101-2.
A day of New Zealand domination was not necessarily on the cards when India skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane resumed their 59-run partnership with the score 146-3, although Jamieson was quickly on the money.
He nipped one back to trap Kohli in front for 44, unable to add to his overnight score.
Rahane also missed out on a half-century, falling a run shy of the landmark when he popped Neil Wagner (2-40) to Tom Latham at midwicket. That made it 182-6 – Rishabh Pant had grown frustrated at failing to get off the mark for 20 balls before throwing his bat at the 22nd and edging Jamieson to Latham for four.
Ravindra Jadeja (15) and Ravichandran Ashwin (22) offered a modicum of lower-order resistance but Jamieson had his fifth when he pinned Jasprit Bumrah lbw.
5 - No other bowler has scalped more fifers in Tests than @BLACKCAPS's Kyle Jamieson (five) since his debut in the format on February 21, 2020; he also has the best strike-rate (36) and average (14.1) for any bowler in this period (min. 10 innings). Pernicious.#INDvNZ #WTC21 pic.twitter.com/z5UwUsNkrx— OptaJeev (@OptaJeev) June 20, 2021
Mohammed Shami's average of 47.95 across nine Tests in England is by far his worst in any country, although the India paceman was desperately unlucky not to improve upon those numbers across a 11 probing overs, with Conway and Latham both ballooning edges over the cordon.
Off-spinner Ashwin (1-20) gave one some extra flight to have Latham taken by Kohli at short extra cover for 30, ending a 70-run opening stand.
After bringing up a fine half century to sit alongside 200 and 80 in his debut series against England, Conway will be frustrated to have flicked to wide mid-on when Ishant Sharma overpitched.
Williamson (12 not out) remained when bad light intervened once more – the elements now arguably more likely to deny his side glory as opposed to anything India might muster in Southampton.
Kyle the king of swing and seam
Jamieson might not be the sort of express pace bowler whose emergence on the scene provokes widespread excitement, but he is a relentless performer and his nagging line, length and lift proved perfect in gloomy English conditions. He might race to 50 Test wickets before this game is out, currently on 44 at a remarkable average of 14.13.
13 - Since his debut in Test cricket exactly a decade ago, @imVkohli took 13 innings to score his first Test century, now it is 13 innings since he scored his last century in Test cricket, his longest period without scoring a ton in the format. Due.#WTCFinal #INDvNZ #WTC21 pic.twitter.com/CPwrc3YhPW— OptaJeev (@OptaJeev) June 20, 2021
India's big hitters come up short
Kohli's review for a plum lbw certainly fell into the L'Oreal category and India's day did not improve. It feels slightly harsh to highlight Rahane, who top-scored when batting was tough, but the manner in which he plonked himself into an obvious trap set by Wagner will gnaw away at him. The richly gifted Pant never looked like matching Kohli and Rahane's efforts during a torturous stay where he appeared completely ill-suited to the situation.