KOLKATA: Batsman Rohit Sharma’s dominant half-century put India firmly in command of the second Test against New Zealand as the hosts stretched their lead to 339 on the third day in Kolkata yesterday.
India were 227-8 at stumps in their second innings with Wriddhiman Saha on 39 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar on eight at the crease. New Zealand bowlers Matt Henry and Mitchell Santner took three wickets each.
Sharma, who scored 82, put on 103 runs with Saha to get their second innings back on track after the New Zealand seamers rattled the Indian top-order with regular wickets.
Fast bowlers Henry and Trent Boult shared five wickets between them to strike back on the two-paced wicket after the visitors conceded a 112-run lead.
Kumar’s fifer hands India advantage over New Zealand
Henry, who had returned with figures of 3-46 in the first innings, sent opener Murali Vijay (4) and Cheteshwar Pujara walking back to the pavilion soon after the lunch break.
Boult joined forces to get Shikhar Dhawan trapped lbw for 17.
Boult’s big wicket was that of India skipper Virat Kohli, who struck a purposeful 45 to lift India from 43-4. The star batsman was trapped lbw.
Kohli’s departure once again raised New Zealand’s hopes of a fightback but Sharma made sure the hosts kept up the good work of stretching their lead further.
Pujara, Rahane lift India after poor start
Sharma tackled the New Zealand bowling with aplomb as the middle-order batsman struck nine fours and two sixes during his 132-ball stay at the crease.
Sharma got good support from Saha, who scored an unbeaten 54 in the first innings, as the batting duo entertained the raucous home crowd at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
Santner left-arm spin finally got through Sharma’s defences after getting him caught behind to Luke Ronchi, who did the wicketkeeping job in place of BJ Watling.
Saha and Kumar then played through the final few overs in fading light till the umpires called it a day.
Courtesy : Express Tribune