India got off to a fantastic start on Day 3, but their hopes were quickly dashed when the final three wickets added 132 runs for New Zealand to drag their lead to 183. The day began with India taking a wicket first ball, but for the next two hours India suffered. In the second innings too, they did not get off to a good start in their second innings and Prithvi Shaw (14) fended a short of a good length delivery to square leg and this set the tone for the rest of the day.
The New Zealand bowlers resorted to short-pitched bowling and made the Indian batsmen very uncomfortable. The pitch did not have nearly as much assistance as it had in the first innings, but this tactic yielded dividends for the hosts.
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Speaking about the same, former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said that this was one of the biggest difference between the two bowling sides. While India’s fast-bowlers figured out their game plans individually, New Zealand bowlers devised a combined a strategy and everyone stuck to it. The ex-Indian player said,
“Ishant was left to himself to figure out the lines and lengths, Shami too and Bumrah were figuring out a way for themselves. For New Zealand it seems to be more of a teamwork plan, all the bowlers have stuck to this plan of bouncers. The slowness of the pitch and the loop in the bounce has been a problem for the Indian batsmen.”
Former all-rounder Scott Styris too nodded in approval and said that New Zealand bowlers tested the technique of the Indian batsmen by mixing the short-pitched stuff and the length balls perfectly and this never allowed the stroke-makers to run away with the game.
India ended the day on 144 for 4 and still New Zealand by 39 runs. Hanuma Vihari (15*) and Ajinkya Rahane (25*) will resume proceedings on Day 4 for the visitors. The situation in Wellington is still in the favour of the Kiwis.