India vs New Zealand 2016 2nd Test Day 3 Report
Brief scores: India 316 & 227/8 (Virat Kohli 45, Rohit Sharma 82; Trent Boult 2-28, Matt Henry 3-44) lead New Zealand 204 (Ross Taylor 36, Jeetan Patel 47; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5-48, Mohammad Shami 3-70) by 339 runs.
India seemed well on their way to sealing the series against New Zealand after another sterling show here on Sunday . At stumps on Day III, the hosts were 2278 and enjoyed a handsome 339-run lead in the second Test.
No team has ever scored so many in the fourth innings at the Eden Gardens and it will require a superhuman effort on the part of the visitors to save this match on a pitch that continues be as fickle as the English weather.
The Kiwis, who looked down and out at the end of the second day’s play , however, stole the honours in Sunday’s morning session. Like the Indian lower-order, their tail too wagged long and hard, adding 76 runs to allow New Zealand to end their first essay on 204 and restrict India’s lead to 112 runs.
The Black Caps pacers then came hard at Indian batsmen and had the hosts tottering at 434 before skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma stemmed the rot with a 48-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Rohit, who recorded a rare failure at the Eden Gardens -his happy-hunting ground -in the first innings, made it count in his second outing. The Mumbai batsman, who has centuries in all three formats of the game at this iconic venue, contributed a sparkling 82. His 103-run partnership with Wriddhiman Saha (39*) virtually put the game beyond New Zealand’s reach and gave Indian bowlers the platform to push for victory .
The Rohit-Virat partnership proved to be crucial from both teams’ perspective. The duo adapted well to the two-paced pitch and took the attack to the rival camp. New Zealand pacers Matt Henry and Trent Boult had their tails up, but Ro hit and Virat passed the pace test with flying colours in spite of Kiwi skipper Ross Taylor setting aggressive fields.
Kohli, who thrives in challenging situations, employed the hook and pull to counter the short-pitched stuff. And when the Kiwi bowlers pitched it up, inviting the batsman to drive, Kohli pierced the packed off-side field with precision.
Kohli who had managed just 59 runs in his last six Test innings, looked set for a big score before being undone by a Boult delivery that kept cruelly low and struck him on the pad in front of the stumps.Kohli’s 65-ball 45 included seven glorious boundaries.
Losing his partner did not deter Rohit, who began to assert himself much to the delight of the 25,000 spectators, who lapped up the Mumbaikar’s lazy elegance.
Just when Rohit (82) looked set for yet another ton at the venue where he hasn’t put a foot wrong since making his Test debut against the West Indies in 2013, he was caught behind while trying to steer Mitchell Santner to thirdman. The ball bounced more than he expected and Luke Ronchi, keeping wickets in place of an indisposed BJ Watling, held the faint edge.
Henry was once again the most impressive of the Kiwi bowlers and accounted for opener Murali Vijay , Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to jolt India early on. Left-arm spinner Santner took a bit of punishment from Rohit and Virat, but also picked up three wickets.
Earlier in the day , Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in spite of maintaining a good line and length, was unable to add to his five-wicket haul. Mohammad Shami (2) and Ashwin picked up the remaining three New Zealand wickets, but not before Jeetan Patel had made a career-best 47 off as many balls.
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