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NZ target third Test after losing series

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/10/2016

Two crushing losses have left the Black Caps unbowed as they prepare for the third Test against India beginning on Friday in Indore.

India thumped New Zealand by 178 runs in the second Test on Monday, clinching the three-match series and reclaiming top spot in the world rankings from Pakistan.

Chasing 376 for victory, the Black Caps slipped from 104-1 to be bundled out for 197 in fading light on the fourth day at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Opener Tom Latham offered the only real resistance, top-scoring for his side with a dogged 74.

Despite the disappointment of a second comprehensive defeat, stand-in skipper Ross Taylor says the New Zealanders are looking forward to tackling India for a third time.

"We're still fizzing to go for Indore, hopefully we can play some fear-free cricket to put India under pressure," he said.

Filling in for an ill Kane Williamson, Taylor said conditions in Kolkata had been challenging but the response from New Zealand's bowlers was encouraging with Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Mitchell Santner picking up three wickets each in the second innings.

"The bowlers fought throughout and that's something we can take to Indore," Taylor said.

"It was pretty hot and humid out there. I liked the way they kept trucking in asking for the ball and the hostility they bowled with sometimes."

Henry, who backed up his first innings 3-46 with a second innings haul of 3-59, came in for special mention.

"We're seen as a friendly team and still are, but as a fast bowler you need a bit of mongrel. So for Henners, who hasn't played for a while, to come and get six wickets on that wicket was good."

Of more concern was a batting performance which, apart from Latham's sterling knock, again fell short.

Latham and Martin Guptill survived nervous moments before lunch to give New Zealand a solid start with a series-best opening stand of 55.

Guptill (24), Henry Nicholls (24) and Taylor (4) all disappeared in the second session, leaving New Zealand 135-3 at tea on a wearing track.

The last seven wickets fell for the addition of just 62 runs, fast bowler Mohammed Shami picking up 3-14.

"They put us under pressure at times, and we weren't able to sustain it with the bat," Taylor said.

He said the chances were looking good for Williamson's return in Indore, with the Black Caps skipper at the ground for the first time on day four.

"It was good to see him walking about - I'm sure he'll be a bit lethargic over the next couple of days but there are positive signs he'll be ready for the next match."

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