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1st Test: Boult puts NZ in charge against India

1st Test: Boult puts NZ in charge against India
New Zealand’s Trent Boult celebrates with teammates after taking a wicket on Day 3 of the first Test match against India at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
Wellington, Feb 23 (IANS) | Publish Date: 2/23/2020 10:15:40 AM IST

Pace spearhead Trent Boult snared three wickets as New Zealand maintained an upper hand over India who had Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari to thank for their resistance as the visitors ended the third day on 144/4, still 39 runs behind the hosts’ lead, in the first Test at the Basin Reserve here on Sunday.

Looking to cut down a tall lead of 183 runs, India were on their haunches at 113/4 in the second innings, with star batters Cheteshwar Pujara (11) and Virat Kohli (19) back in the hut.

Opener Mayank Agarwal was the top-scorer with a gritty 58 but he also failed to carry on. 

For the Kiwis, Boult returned the best figures of 3/27 in 16 overs with Southee picking up one wicket.

At stumps, India vice-captain Rahane was batting on 25 from 67 balls with Vihari on 15 from 70 deliveries.

Before tea, Agarwal struck a fifty but New Zealand held on to the driver seat by removing Pujara in the final ball before tea to leave India at 78/2, still trailing by 105 runs.

Skipper Kohli joined Agarwal in the middle but shortly after the break, the opener chased an overpitched Southee delivery down the leg side to be caught behind by wicketkeeper BJ Watling. Kohli asked Agarwal to review but in vain, as replays showed there was a tiny edge off the bat.

Rahane was in the middle and alongwith the captain, the pair had a job to do. Kohli seemed to be taking time, seeing off the deliveries cautiously outside off stump as the Kiwi pacers targeted the channel which is a soft spot for the premier batsman.

Eventually, Kohli feathered a ferocious Boult bouncer which he tried to pull but instead saw Watling take a simple catch behind the stumps. At 113/4, India were staring down the barrrel before Test specialists Rahane and Vihari steadied the ship somewhat. In the morning session, the hosts rode their tail-enders’ good show to take a 183-run lead after they were bowled out for 348 in the first innings while replying to India’s paltry 165.

Pacer Ishant Sharma (5/68) took five wickets but debutant Kyle Jamieson continued to hog the limelight with a rapid cameo as New Zealand were all out for 348.

The towering Jamieson hit 44 off 45 balls as all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme (43 off 74) also chipped in to help the hosts stretch their lead. 

Resuming on 216/5, 51 runs ahead of India’s paltry first innings score of 165, India drew early blood with Jasprit Bumrah getting Kiwi wicketkeeper batsman BJ Watling (14) caught behind in the very first delivery of the day. 

Southee (6) did not last long, with Ishant getting him caught by Mohammed Shami before Jamieson and Grandhomme joined hands to punish India. 

Brief Scores: India 165 all out and 144/4 (Mayank Agarwal 52; Ajinkya Rahane 25 batting, Hanuma Vihari 15 batting; Trent Boult 3/27) New Zealand 348 all out (Kane Williamson 89, Ross Taylor 44; Kyle Jamieson 44, Colin de Grandhomme 43; Ishant Sharma 5/68; R Ashwin 3/99)

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