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Skipper Brendon McCullum brought up his 9th Test ton and BJ Watling got a patient half-century to give New Zealand a slender lead on Day 3 of the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
McCullum (114*) and Watling (52*) stitched together a partnership of 158 for the sixth wicket, getting the hosts to 252/5 at stumps, a lead of six runs.
Not only was this McCullum's slowest ton in Tests so far, his innings was remarkably uncharacteristic, with the swashbuckling batsman keeping off the big shots and concentrating instead on building the innings.
The Kiwi captain had a lucky day, being dropped twice, first by Virat Kohli at silly mid on when he was on 9 and then again by Ishant Sharma off his own bowling when he was on 36.
In the morning session, Zaheer Khan struck twice, helping India retain a grip over the second Test at the Basin Reserve. In the very first over of the day, Zaheer removed Kane Williamson (7), the in-form batsman who has got the better of the visitors time and again in the series. Zaheer's tight line and length paid off as Williamson tried to drive him on the up but ended up giving an easy catch to MS Dhoni behind the stumps.
A few overs later, he did an encore with Hamish Rutherford (35). This time, the ball straightened a touch and brushed past the edge of the Kiwi opener's defensive bat to Dhoni.
Mohammed Shami piled on trouble for the hosts, removing Tom Latham for 29. Latham too went fishing for a back-of-length delivery from Shami and nicked to Dhoni, the third batsman in the morning to do so.
McCullum tried to steady the boat with Corey Anderson, but that didn't last long. Anderson fell, trying to close the face of his bat to a delivery that did not spin, giving Ravindra Jadeja an easy catch off his own bowling.
Thereafter, the McCullum-Watling fightback kept India at bay.
New Zealand Second Innings: