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New Zealand soldier on but India on course to win after hard-fought day 3

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It was a battle of attrition on day 3 of the second Test between New Zealand and India at Wellington as the Kiwis continued to fight hard to deny the Indians a rare away win while visitors are still very much on course to level the series over the last 2 days of the match. Resuming on 24/1 in their second innings, the Kiwis ended day 3 on 252/5, 6 runs ahead of India’s first innings score of 438.

New Zealand began the day poorly losing their best batsman Kane Williamson caught behind off Zaheer Khan for just 7. Debutant Tom Latham, who was filling in for the unavailable Ross Taylor, then strung together a 25 run stand with opener Hamish Rutherford (35) before Rutherford too nicked one behind off Zaheer Khan with the score on just 52.  India struck again to leave the Kiwis in tatters before lunch as Mohammed Shami picked up Tom Latham (29), once again caught behind by Dhoni. The Kiwis went into Lunch on 87/4 still 159 runs in arrears and with a battle on their hands.

India picked up another wicket just after Lunch with Ravindra Jadeja foxing the hard-hitting Corey Anderson and getting him out caught and bowled for just 2.

The much sought after resistance finally arrived for the Kiwis as skipper Brendon McCullum and wicket-keeper BJ Watling then strung together a very dogged stand. Both batsmen were prepared to grind on and had a bit of luck go their way as the Indians dropped McCullum twice on the day. The duo soldiered on to Tea getting New Zealand to 146/5, still a 100 runs behind India.

The 3rd session saw Brendon McCullum take the attack to the Indians while he the ideal foil at the other end in the dogged BJ Watling. The duo put a tired looking Indian attack to sword post Tea and started to eat away at the deficit. McCullum brought up a well deserved 100 with a lofted six off Ishant Sharma. Even the second new ball didn’t pay dividends as India’s attack struggled to make further inroads on a pitch that had slowed down considerably. Both batsmen saw the Kiwis comfortably through to stumps with a fine unbeaten stand of 158 that took New Zealand to 252/5, 6 runs ahead of India. McCullum was unbeaten on a superb 114 while he had a good partner in Watling, who was battling away on 52.

The kiwis still have plenty of work to do though and will have a huge fight on their hands on day 4 and 5 to stop India from leveling the series.

Mini Scorecard:

1st innings

New Zealand 192 all out (52.4 overs, 3.63 rpo)

K Williamson 47(100) I Sharma 6/51

J Neesham 33(35) M Shami 4/70

India 438 all out (102.4 overs, 4.26 rpo)

A Rahane 118(158) T Boult 3/99

S Dhawan 98(127) N Wagner 3/105

2nd innings

New Zealand 252/5 (99 overs, 2.56 rpo)

B McCullum  114*(237) Zaheer Khan 3/60

BJ Watling 52*(208) R Jadeja 1/49