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Gambhir, Pujara stretch India's lead to 385 at lunch

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Cricket - India v New Zealand - Third Test cricket match - Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore, India - 10/10/2016. India's Gautam Gambhir (R) is attended by the team physio. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Cricket - India v New Zealand - Third Test cricket match - Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore, India - 10/10/2016. India's Gautam Gambhir (R) is attended by the team physio. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

INDORE, India (Reuters) - Gautam Gambhir struck 50 in his comeback test and Cheteshwar Pujara registered a fourth half-century of the series as India stretched their overall lead to 385 at lunch on day four of the third and final test against New Zealand on Tuesday.

India were 127 for two at the break with Pujara (50) and skipper Virat Kohli (two) in the middle as the hosts appear set to add quick runs in the afternoon as they seek a 3-0 series sweep at Indore's Holkar Stadium.

Resuming on 18-0, India lost their first wicket when opener Murali Vijay ran himself out for 19 after aborting a quick single off Mitchell Santner.

Injuries to openers Lokesh Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan prompted Gambhir's return to test cricket after a two-year absence and the 34-year-old southpaw initially failed to capitalise with a patchy first innings score of 29.

Things looked worse for Gambhir on Monday when he retired hurt with an injured shoulder but the Delhi player walked back out to bat after Vijay's exit.

Gambhir, who turns 35 on Thursday, hit six boundaries before completing his 22nd test fifty off 54 balls but was dismissed without adding to his score when he drove off-spinner Jeetan Patel straight to Martin Guptill at cover.

Pujara enhanced his reputation as a consistent and steady run-scorer by hitting three boundaries in his 98-ball vigil.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien)


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