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India consolidated their position in the third cricket Test against New Zealand by extending their overall lead to 385 as the hosts reached 127 for two in their second innings at lunch on the fourth day, here today.

The hosts lost opener Murali Vijay (19) and Gautam Gambhir (50) after resuming at 18 for no loss. Cheteshwar Pujara (50) and captain Virat Kohli (2) were at the crease.It was expected that India would look to get some quick runs for an early declaration but overnight batsmen Vijay and Pujara started batting in a sedate manner.

Vijay looked a bit more attacking than his partner after resuming at 11 in a team total of 18. He survived when his flick off Matt Henry could not be taken by James Neesham at deep mid-wicket as the fielder dropped the ball back into the playing area while he himself crossed the boundary line.

Vijay was however run out soon afterwards due to a misunderstanding with partner Pujara who first responded to the call for a sharp single to short covers but then sent the former back.

India added just 30 runs in the first hour in 14 overs even as Gambhir joined Pujara to resume his interrupted innings yesterday. He had left



the field after suffering a shoulder injury when he dived to save himself from a runout.Gambhir, on 6 when he retired hurt, rotated the strike well by taking sharp singles.

The duo also put away the occasional bad ball for more runs, including boundary hits, among which was a smashing straight hit by Pujara off left-arm paceman Trent Boult to bring up the fifty of the stand as the scoring rate picked up.The second fifty of the innings was raised in quicker time than the first with the 100 coming in 27 overs.

34-year-old Gambhir was on the look-out for quick runs and struck six fours before he drove off spinner Jeetan Patel straight to the short cover fielder when stepping out to smack another four.

This also broke his 75-run partnership with Pujara for the second wicket. Gambhir, who made 29 on his comeback innings earlier in the match, thus compiled his career’s 22nd half century in his 57th Test which was his first in four years.

Just before lunch, Pujara reached his fourth half-century of the series in a slow 96 balls and with the help of three fours to remain unbeaten at the break in the company of his captain Kohli.


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