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Sharma sets up massive lead for India

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/10/2016

Rohit Sharma's masterful 82 and a seventh-wicket stand of 103 runs with Wriddhiman Saha has put India firmly in the driver's seat against New Zealand in the second Test.

It came after the hosts had got off to a wobbly start in their second innings after beginning with a 112-run first innings lead.

At stumps on the third day, Saha (39 not out) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (eight) were at the crease for the hosts, who lead the three-match series 1-0 and will reclaim top spot in the Test rankings from Pakistan with a win at Eden Gardens.

India reached 227-8 in their second innings for an overall lead of 339, a tall chase already for the touring side on a deteriorating pitch.

Matt Henry and Trent Boult had seemingly resurrected New Zealand's hopes in the second session with some inspired fast bowling after India wrapped up the touring side's first innings for 204 in the morning for a handy lead.

Henry, who picked up three wickets in India's first innings, added another three to his tally, with Boult picking up two more as India were reduced to 106-6.

Henry claimed three of the first four wickets to reduce India to 43-4, and it was left to captain Virat Kohli (45) and Sharma to rescue India with a fifth-wicket stand of 48.

Kohli looked in good touch before he was out leg before to a Boult delivery that stayed low and went under his bat.

Ravichandran Ashwin fell to left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who later sent back Rohit and Ravindra Jadeja (six) in one over.

Ashwin's dismissal brought Rohit and Saha together and the duo then batted India into a commanding position.

Earlier, resuming on 128-7, New Zealand's Jeetan Patel (47) and BJ Watling (25) compiled a fighting eighth-wicket stand of 60 before the former fell trying to slog off-spinner Ashwin's first ball of the day.

Patel, who had played his last Test in January 2013, hit nine fours in his run-a-ball innings and, with wicketkeeper-batsman Watling, kept India at bay for more than an hour in the first session while compiling his best score.

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