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Watling, Patel help Kiwis cross 200 (Lunch report)

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Kolkata Oct 2 (IANS) New Zealand's overnight batsmen put up a gritty fight on Sunday to cut India's lead to 112 runs on day three of the second Test at the Eden Gardens here.

The Kiwis posted 204 in their first innings with comeback man Jeetan Patel and wicketkeeper B.J. Watling stitching together a 60-run stand for the eighth wicket after at one stage on Friday it looked like the visitors won't reach even 150.

The duo joined hands at 122/7 late on Friday to stage a mini-fightback.

India had notched up 316 in their first essay.

At lunch, the hosts were 12 without loss, with Shikhar Dhawan batting on 4 and Murali Vijay on 7.

Resuming at 128/7 overnight, Patel and Watling raced to a 50-run stand for the eighth wicket within an hour of the day's play. Play was stopped for 10 minutes because of a drizzle.

After a decent bowling show, Patel (47; 47b, 9x4) continued his trailblazing comeback with the bat, playing the role of aggressor while stumper Watling held fort from the other end. The 36-year-old offie, who last played for the country in 2013, scored all around the park and in ODI pace.

Patel got a reprieve in the 12th over of the morning when a straight one from Ravindra Jadeja caught him rooted to his crease and plumb in front. Patel, who had started the long walk back towards the hut was called back by the umpire after replays showed the left-arm spinner had overstepped. Jadeja's front foot landed on its toe, the heel just about above the line but not behind it.

Patel though failed to capitalise on the 'life', and fell in the next over to Ravichandran Ashwin whose tossed up delivery in his first ball of the day forced the Kiwi into committing an error. He skied to mid-off area where Shami moved to his right to pouch an easy catch. This was Patel's highest score in Test cricket.

Shami then removed Watling, whose dexterous knock of 25 came to an end as he failed to negotiate a reverse swinging delivery that rapped him on the front leg. Neil Wagner soon departed to another Shami inswinging ball. Wagner this time missed the inside edge and the ball hit his front pad.

--IANS

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