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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Wellington Test PHOTOS: New Zealand fight back on Day Three

Wellington Test PHOTOS: New Zealand fight back on Day Three

February 16, 2014 11:47 IST

New Zealand fight back on Day Three

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New Zealand were 252 for five in their second innings at close of play on the third day of the second and final cricket Test against India at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Sunday.

The home team avoided the ignominy of an innings defeat and made sure the visitors will have to bat again to win the Test and square the series. New Zealand lead by 6 runs with five wickets in hand. 

- Scorecard

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum led a spirited fightback with a magnificent 114 not out. Giving him the required support was wicketkeeper batsman BJ Watling (52 not out).

The duo added 158 runs for the sixth wicket, helping their side recover from a precarious 94 for five. It's a record sixth wicket partnership for New Zealand against India besting the record set, at the Basin Reserve as well, by Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns in the Boxing Day Test in 1998-99. 

Earlier, an impressive opening spell by Zaheer Khan (8-3-21-2) handed India the early advantage. 

Zaheer (overall three for 28) first removed Kane Williamson (7) and then accounted for Hamish Rutherford (35), both caught behind. 


Image: Zaheer Khan of India celebrates his wicket of Kane Williamson of New Zealand during day three
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Rutherford made an strokeful 35

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Resuming at the overnight score of 24 for one, Kane Williamson and Hamish Rutherford's only purpose was to bat for time and save the Test.

However, Williamson, the in-form Kiwi batsman, managed only seven runs.

Rutherford hit six delectable boundaries in his 35. But he nicked a Zaheer delivery and Dhoni made no mistake behind the stumps. 

The momentary lapse of concentration cost the New Zealand opener a big innings.

 


Image: Hamish Rutherford of New Zealand bats during day three
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Shami accounted for Tom Latham

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Mohammed Shami provided an ample foil to Zaheer's consistency. 

The Bengal pacer struck just at the stroke of lunch and had Tom Latham (29) caught behind.

About 21 years after their fathers Ken Rutherford and Rod Latham batted together for New Zealand, Hamish and Tom did so for their team, and went past the paltry 15-run stand their fathers had managed, adding 25 runs for the third wicket before the former was dismissed.

Latham added 35 for the fourth wicket with his captain before Shami snapped him.

New Zealand were reduced to 87 for four at lunch.


Image: Mohammed Shami of India celebrates his wicket of Tom Latham of New Zealand (left)
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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McCullum notched up his ninth Test hundred

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It was left to McCullum to pull his team out of early trouble and he made full use of two reprieves to battle his way to 114 not out.

First he was dropped by Virat Kohli off Shami at the personal score of nine and then Ishant put down a tough return-catch chance in the 55th over when the batsman was on 36.

The New Zealand captain made the most of his good fortune by first becoming only the fourth New Zealand batsman to complete 5,000 Test runs - after Martin Crowe (5444), John Wright (5334) and Stephen Fleming (7172) - and then completing his ninth Test hundred, his fourth against India and his second in succession after his magnificent 224 in Auckland. 

It's a resilient innings, and a rather uncharacteristic one. McCullum took close to 150 balls to reach fifty but completed the next 50 runs in just 51 balls, thereby combining caution with aggression. 


Image: Brendon McCullum of New Zealand bats during day three
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Watling notched up his seventh Test fifty

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Giving the New Zealand captain support was the side's wicketkeeper. 

BJ Watling wasn't among the runs in the series and expectedly, began on a cautious note. However, he grew in confidence as the day progressed, scoring his seventh Test half century (52 not out). 

He and McCullum put together an unbroken 158-run stand for the sixth wicket to guide New Zealand to 252 for five. More importantly, the duo played cautiously for almost two sessions to deny any further breakthrough to the Indians.

If the first session belonged to India, the next two sessions, especially the post-tea period, was all New Zealand's as McCullum and Watling frustrated the Indians and lived to fight another day. 


Image: BJ Watling of New Zealand
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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