Sharma helps In­dia build big lead against NZ

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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 for eight 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 for the seventh wicket 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 twopaced pitch af­ter the vis­i­tors con­ceded a 112-run lead.

“I think over the last two days, you may have seen the wicket that it’s not a typ­i­cal Kolkata wicket. They have re­laid the sur­face and you may seen un­even bounces oc­ca­sion­ally,” Sharma told re­porters.

“The con­di­tions were not easy... you can’t re­lax.”

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.

Henry trapped Pu­jara lbw for 7 on a pacy in­cut­ter that hit the out­side of the bats­man’s front pad, but TV re­plays sug­gested that the ball might have missed the leg stump.

Boult joined forces to get Shikhar Dhawan, who got a nasty blow on his thumb early on in the in­nings against the left-handed pacer, 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.

Sharma tack­led the New Zealand bowl­ing with aplomb as the mid­dle-or­der bats­man struck 9 fours and 2 sixes dur­ing his 132-ball stay at the crease. – AFP

In­dia’s Ro­hit Sharma (R) and Wrid­dhi­man Saha run be­tween wick­ets yes­ter­day. –

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