India extends lead over New Zealand in 2nd test to 339 runs
Rohit Sharma scored 82 runs and helped India reach 227-8 in 63.2 overs at stumps on day three of the second test against New Zealand in Kolkata. The hosts lead by 339 runs, with Wriddhiman Saha on 39 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar on 8 at the crease.
Sharma played an assured knock on a pitch with variable bounce, negotiating both pace and spin with ease. He faced 132 balls and hit nine fours and two well-timed sixes. He reached his sixth test fifty off 89 deliveries.
Sharma’s batting helped the hosts recover from a precarious situation, and with a sizeable lead, they are now once again in command of this test with two days remaining.
“There was something in the surface throughout the day. It’s not a typical Kolkata wicket,” said Sharma, who has been under fire for a string of low scores. “I am not under any pressure. I scored runs in the first test (in Kanpur) too.”
With Saha, Sharma put on 103 runs for the seventh wicket, the fourth time in last five tests that India have had a century partnership for this pairing. In doing so, the duo pushed the score past the 200-mark and took the overall lead to 300 to put the hosts in a comfortable position.
Sharma, who scored a maiden test hundred on debut at Eden Gardens against West Indies in 2013, was approaching his second ton when he was caught behind off Mitchell Santner (3-51).
The left-arm spinner also accounted for Ravindra Jadeja (6), caught off a skier. Play was halted early due to bad light.
With the variable bounce in the pitch, the match already looks beyond the visitors’ reach. The highest fourth innings’ target chased successfully here is 117 by India against South Africa in 2004.