After three fascinating days of cricket, India have almost ensured a win in the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai. Chasing 540 runs for a win, New Zealand experienced yet another batting debacle as they ended Day 3 on 140/5.
Starting the day on 69/0, India's opening batters fired in unison. Mayank Agarwal continued his form with a half-century (62) while Cheteshwar Pujara contributed a valuable 47 runs in a 107-run opening stand. Ajaz Patel sent back both the openers, giving us glimpses of his first-innings feat.
Shubman Gill (47), who came out with his right arm taped, played some gorgeous shots but yet again failed to convert his start into a big score. It was rather a soft dismissal when he tried to cut one off Rachin Ravindra, without having much room, straight into the hands of Tom Latham.
Shreyas Iyer showed a great attacking intent to boost India's lead in quick time as he went all out after William Somerville, plundering two consecutive sixes off a single over. But he fell to a stumping chance off Patel soon after skipper Virat Kohli's (36) dismissal. However, that didn't deter India from playing attacking cricket as both Wriddhiman Saha (13 off 12 balls) and Axar Patel (41* off 26 balls) carried on with the momentum. Even Jayant Yadav had his field day with the bat as he opened his account with a maximum!
After declaring their second innings for 276/7, India choked the Kiwi opening batters yet again. Ravichandran Ashwin got both Tom Latham (6) and Will Young (20) to reduce NZ to 45/2. Ross Taylor added to the mess with an outrageous attempt of a slog sweep which landed into Pujara's safe hands, giving Ashwin his third wicket.
Daryl Mitchell (60) and Henry Nicholls (36*) went into the damage-control mode and added a crucial 73 runs for the fourth wicket but Axar Patel dismissed Mitchell to break the partnership. Tom Blundell was the next one to throw away his wicket while trying to squeeze a single. He had to pay the price for the misunderstanding with Nicholls - the last thing NZ would have wanted!
With two more days remaining in the match, NZ's problems seem to be never-ending. They still need 400 runs for a win and with the way things have panned out for them, only a miracle can save them!