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Twitter Reactions: Virat Kohli fails to dazzle yet again as Mayank Agarwal’s gritty half-century keeps India’s hopes alive

At the culmination of Day 3, India still trail by 39 runs.

Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Virat Kohli and his troops– who were touted to amass a formidable total in their first innings failed to do so after a batting debacle. Apart from Ajinkya Rahane’s grit and resilience, no other Indian batsman was successful in sticking to the wicket as they bowed down against the fury of Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.

To plunge more misery on the visitors, the Kiwi batting force– led by skipper Williamson and Ross Taylor– gathered 348 runs on the board in their first innings. It was looking like the Indian bowling force will be able to curb New Zealand’s run-flow after the departure Williamson, Taylor and De Grandhomme. However, the Kiwi bowling duo of Jamieson and Boult had other plans.

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Jamieson, while transferring his bowling heroics into his batting abilities, stitched a vital 44-run knock to add crucial runs on the scoreboard. He was well supported by Boult as he also played a quick-fire 38-run cameo comprising five fours and a six. At a point of time when the scoreboard was reflecting 296/8, the Jamieson-Boult duo played a pivotal role in steering New Zealand’s total to 348 runs.

It was looking like the Kiwi total will surely surpass the 350-run mark. However, Ishant Sharma stepped in to the rescue and hit the final nail in the coffin by dismissing Trent Boult. Ishant completed his fifer–11th in Test cricket– by plucking Boult’s wicket. Bowling short and generating that extra bounce did the trick for the Delhi pacer as Boult got his gloves on the delivery to let wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant gobble it up. Along with Ishant, Ravichandran Ashwin also put up an impressive show as he plucked three Kiwi wickets.

Mayank Agarwal struck a brilliant half-century

India flagged off their second innings with an aim to establish a formidable lead over the hosts. However, the Men in Blue suffered an early blow in the form of Prithvi Shaw as he departed after scoring 14 runs. The wickets kept tumbling as what followed was the departure of Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli.

Pujara (11), as well as Kohli (19), were unsuccessful in stitching a partnership for their side. Meanwhile, Agarwal– who was rock-solid at the other end– scored a brilliant half-century to bolster India’s run-flow. He weaved his gritty knock around seven fours and a six. However, after the departure of India’s top-order batting force, it was the Rahane-Vihari duo which steadied the visitors’ ship by their perseverant knocks.

Rahane stitched 25 crucial runs and Vihari accompanied him by his resilient 70-ball 15. At the culmination of Day 3, India still trail by 39 runs. It will be interesting to see how the Rahane-Vihari duo fares on the fourth day of the Wellington Test.

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