By BV Swagath
A Captain’s knock from Brendon McCullum and a timely return of form of BJ Watling helped New Zealand to turn the tables in the Wellington Test. The hosts who were trailing behind by 222 runs at the start of Day 3 find themselves into the lead by 6 runs with five second innings wickets left. The match is still in favour of India but not by much!
India did everything right until they ran into the McCullum-Watling partnership. The visitors had the Kiwis reeling at 94 for 5 in the second session. However, by the close of play, the New Zealand score reads 251 for 5 in 98 overs thanks to the fighting unbeaten stand of 158 between Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling.
The day began well for India with Kane Williamson nicking an away going delivery from Zaheer Khan in the 2nd over of the morning. Opener Hamish Rutherford worked hard to reach his series best of 35 before he was forced to edge a Zaheer Khan delivery to Dhoni. By lunch, India took its fourth wicket with Tom Lathan out for 29, poking outside off to an away going seamer from Mohammed Shami.
After lunch, Corey J Anderson was caught and bowled off a leading edge while flicking early at a Jadeja delivery. India failed to cash in on two opportunities with Brendon McCullum dropped twice – once at short mid on off Shami and later in the day, Ishant putting down a return catch.
McCullum scored his 9th Test century while closing the day’s play on 114* from 237 balls with 14 fours and a six. BJ Watling survived the day with a patient knock of 52* from 208 balls. This pair has also seen the early threat of the second new ball.