Auckland, Feb 9 IANS | 10 months ago

India inched closer towards an unlikely win against New Zealand but lost three crucial wickets and were 270 for five at tea, still needing 137 runs to win on day four of the first cricket Test here Sunday.

India, who were 180 for two at lunch, were cruising towards the target when Virat Kohli (67) tried one too many shots and lost his wicket.

India came out to bat after lunch in an aggressive mood. Both Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan (115) took on the Kiwi attack and seemed to be doing some real damage.

However, Kohli got carried away and tried to pull a short and wide Neil Wagner delivery, managing only to get a bottom edge to the wicketkeeper.

The wicket gave New Zealand a new lease of life and it was the left-arm pacer again who removed the dangerous Dhawan to really put India on the backfoot.

Ajinkya Rahane's (18) nightmarish tour continued but this time the diminutive right-hander fell victim to a poor decision from the umpire.

Left-arm pacer Trent Boult flummoxed Rahane with a beautiful in-swinging delivery, which cannoned in to his pads but not before taking a slight edge off his bat.

Earlier, an unbeaten 84-run partnership between Kohli and Dhawan took India to 180 for two at lunch in their second innings, putting them back in to contention.

India, who started the day at 87 for one, lost Cheteshwar Pujara early (23). However, Dhawan and Kohli led India's charge and left them requiring with 227 runs for an unlikely victory.

Though, it wasn't all plain sailing for the Indian batsmen. Pujara fell victim to Tim Southee's out-swinger to give the hosts the early initiative. He poked at one too many deliveries outside the off-stump and finally managed to edge one to wicketkeeper B.J. Watling.

New Zealand put more pressure on the Indian batsmen with both Kohli and Dhawan living dangerously. However, as the session wore on they started to take control of the proceedings.

India had looked down and out of the contest after the first innings. New Zealand scored a mammoth 503 runs and then bowled out India for a paltry 202. But an inexplicable second innings batting collapse saw the hosts being bowled out for 105, giving India a way in to the match.

(Posted on 09-02-2014)

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