New Zealand seamer Tim Southee got rid of both Indian openers in the final session of day five and wants his team to be at the top of their game in the first two hours of the sixth and final day of the World Test Championship final in Southampton. India currently have a lead of 32 runs and have eight wickets in hands, with skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease.
"We'll reassess in the morning and come up with our plan that's best suited for tomorrow. But we know we've got a tough day ahead of us. It's exciting to have all three results still possible. It's a quality Indian batting lineup with two of their best in the crease at the moment. We're going to have to be on top of our game tomorrow and to come, and I think that first hour or two hours is going to be crucial to how each side sets up the day," said Southee.
"You always probably want more than what you got, but it was nice to get those two tonight. To have two of their more attacking players, it's nice to see the back of them. There's a little bit of assistance there, but I think we've seen the Indian side probably had their most challenging period when the ball was slightly older. Hopefully, tomorrow morning when the ball is slightly older, it will swing a little bit more, and cause a few questions early on tomorrow.
Southee dismissed Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill with two superb inswingers and became only the second bowler from New Zealand after Daniel Vettori (696) to take 600 international wickets. Talking about the two dismissals, Southee said: "I guess as the game goes on and the wicket starts to deteriorate, you try and bring in the stumps a little bit more. I guess as a player you're always looking at different ways to expand your game.
"And, I guess anytime you have milestones like that, it's always nice. You play for long enough and then you sort of tick off a few milestones along the way. I guess it is a nice achievement. When I first started I certainly didn't think I would be sitting here after taking 600. I guess it is nice, but hopefully there's still plenty more to come tomorrow and in the coming years."
After India were bundled out for 217 in the first innings, New Zealand were reduced to 162/6 but that's when Southee (46-ball 30) and Kyle Jamieson (16-ball 21) scored some vital runs and alongside Kane Williamson (177-ball 49) gave their team a decent lead of 32 runs.
"I guess first initially I was trying to hang around with Kane and trying to sort of scrap for every run, but then when us bowlers got together it was probably about just getting as many as we can, and I think we did well, the position we were in to eke out a little bit of a lead. We would have like to have a bit more of a lead, but to have that little buffer was nice, as well.
Southee also heaped heavy praise on his captain Williamson. "It was a tough time this morning. I think the Indian bowling asked a lot of tough questions and got off to a great start and put us under a lot of pressure, and he was able to hang tight and dig deep and just sort of battle his way through what was a tough situation there for a while. He's a class player."