New Zealand on top against India after Trent Boult heroics

By Greg Stutchbury Time of article published Feb 23, 2020

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WELLINGTON - Trent Boult followed up his counter-attacking cameo innings of 38 to take three wickets, including that of Virat Kohli, to put New Zealand on top against India at the end of the third day of the first Test on Sunday.

The visitors, who had not lost any of their seven previous International Cricket Council World Test Championship matches, were 144-4 at the close of play at the Basin Reserve, still 39 runs behind and staring at their potential first defeat.

India's hopes on Monday will rest with vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who was on 25, and Hanuma Vihari (15), with Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin the only remaining players likely capable of building a total they can defend.

Boult added it was too early to determine what kind of total they would be comfortable chasing with India still having some resistance in their lineup.

"I hope I don't have to bat again," he said with a grin.

"If I do my job we won't be chasing too much. It's a very good wicket (and) we know that we have to be on the ball.

"We can't be walking around feeling we're well ahead of the game because there is a lot of cricket to be played."

Boult added dismissing Kohli for 19 had been important in putting pressure on India's batting lineup.

"Almost every time we miss, he hits and he hits it well and gets boundaries," Boult said.

"From our point of view, we were trying to dry that up and for me personally using the wicket and the shorter ball was a good plan to try and control his run rate."

The hosts had established a 183-run first innings lead after they were dismissed for 348 before lunch with Colin de Grandhomme, debutant Kyle Jamieson and Boult counter-attacking to bolster their advantage.

De Grandhomme and Jamieson put on 71 runs before Boult then shared in a 38-run, 10th-wicket stand with Ajaz Patel, who held up the other end as the pace bowler scored all of the runs in their partnership.

"Batsmen don't get out anymore," Ashwin told reporters of the stubborn resistance by New Zealand's bowlers. "Lower order batters do put a price on their wickets."

Ashwin also said it was too early to determine what direction the match might go.

"There's six sessions to go in the game and we're not even at the stage where we can think about what's a good score to defend," he added.

"If you can get as close to the first innings score as they did then we might present ourselves an opportunity to do something, but that's very far away in the game."

Reuters

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