New Zealand stall India’s victory push
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and wicketkeeper BJ Watling were stubbornly holding up India’s push for a series-levelling victory in the second test in Wellington on Sunday. McCullum (44) and Watling (24) combined for a 52-run partnership to take the hosts to 146 for five at tea on the third day at the Basin Reserve, still 100 runs from making the visitors bat again. Corey Anderson was the only wicket to fall during the session, having joined McCullum at the resumption of play following the lunch break, when he was caught and bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for two. Anderson’s dismissal reduced the hosts to 94 for five and in danger of not seeing out a sun-drenched day, before Watling and McCullum dropped anchors and took their side to tea. The normally free-flowing McCullum faced 138 balls for his 44 while Watling was even more obdurate with his 24 coming from 96 deliveries. Left-arm spinner Jadeja bowled 15 overs unchanged from the city end of the ground throughout the session to concede just 21 runs. He went to tea with figures of 1-24 from 18 overs. Resuming the day on 24 for one, a deficit of 222 runs, New Zealand slumped further into the mire when Zaheer Khan grabbed two early wickets to put India firmly in charge of the match. The 35-year-old left-armer had the ball move slightly away off the seam to catch the thinnest of outside edges of both Kane Williamson (seven) and Hamish Rutherford (35) to reduce the hosts to 52 for three inside the first hour. Debutant Tom Latham was then dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the final over before lunch for 29, having avoided the dreaded pair in his first test when he punched Zaheer through point for two runs. India must win the match to level the two-test series after New Zealand won the first game at Eden Park by 40 runs. India had been bowled out for 438 on the second day with Ajinkya Rahane scoring his maiden test century. The compact right-hander top-scored with 118 and shared in profitable partnerships with Virat Kohli (38) and Dhoni (68), while opener Shikhar Dhawan scored 98. New Zealand were dismissed for 192 on the first day.
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