Trent Boult's electrifying spell helps New Zealand end day three on top against India
Kiwi pacer Trent Boult produced a terrific performance to help New Zealand end day three on top against India in the first Test match between the two sides at Basin Reserve in Wellington on Sunday (February 23).
When play resumed earlier in the day, Jasprit Bumrah gave India the perfect start to the session by dismissing BJ Watling (14) off the first ball.
Sharma struck right after and sent Tim Southee back to the dressing room who managed to add just 6 runs, reducing New Zealand to 225/7.
However, Kyle Jamieson (44) and Colin de Grandhomme (43) dug in deep and formed a formidable partnership and held the forte for the Kiwis.
But Ashwin soon broke the partnership and sent both batsmen back to the pavilion.
Trent Boult came in and played a quickfire innings of 38 runs before Ishant stopped him in his tracks as New Zealand were bundled all out for 348, forming a 183-run lead over the tourists.
Sharma was easily the stand-out bowler for India as he bagged his 11th five-wicket haul in the longest format of the game.
With this feat, Sharma also became the fifth Indian bowler - alongside Zaheer Khan - to take most five-fors in red-ball cricket.
In reply, the visitors lost Prithvi Shaw (14) early again after Tom Latham took an excellent flying catch to dismiss the Indian opener off Boult's delivery.
Mayank Agarwal then stood tall and formed a partnership with Chetteshwar Pujara for the second wicket and formed a 51-run stand.
Pujara's stubborn 11-run innings off 81 balls came to end just before tea when Boult's inswinger caught him unguard and he ended up losing his stumps.
Agarwal (58) brought up his well-deserved half-century against the BlackCaps but his celebrations were cut short by Tim Southee.
Virat Kohli's miserable form with the bat continued as he managed to score just 19 runs before getting dismissed by a cheeky bouncer by Boult as India lost their fourth wicket with 113 on the board.
It was thanks to some mature batting from Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari for the fifth wicket that helped the visitors steady their ship.
The duo showed some immense resistance and knitted together a 21-run partnership against a highflying Kiwi pace attack.
Both Rahane (25*) and Vihari (15) stayed unbeaten in the end as India finished day three on 144/4, trailing the home side by 39 runs.
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Boult was easily New Zealand's stand-out bowler on the day as he picked up three key wickets for an expense of 27 runs from his 16 overs.
(Inputs from dnaindia.com)