Skipper Virat Kohli recorded his second double-century in Tests as he and Ajinkya Rahane helped India post a crushing 557 for five declared against New Zealand at Indore yesterday.
The visitors were 28 without loss at stumps on Day 2 of the third and final Test, with Martin Guptill on 17 and Tom Latham on six, trailing by 529 runs.
The hosts, who started the day on 267 for three, rode on the 365-run fourth-wicket partnership between Kohli (211) and Rahane (188) to flatten the New Zealand bowling.
The partnership was India’s best for the fourth wicket, surpassing the 353-run stand between Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman against Australia at Sydney in 2004.
“This partnership was really special. We were 100 for three and from there getting 365 was really special. It will remain in our memory for a long time,” Rahane told reporters.
Kohli, who scored his maiden 200 against the West Indies in July, registered his career-best Test score with a dominating display. The batsman, who resumed the day on 103 in his 48th Test, scored runs all around the park with 20 boundaries during his 366-ball stay at the crease.
Overnight partner Rahane was also in blazing form, posting a career-best score in his 29th match after completing his eighth Test century.
Rahane had to face a barrage of bouncers in the morning session from the New Zealand quicks, with one of the short-pitched deliveries from Matt Henry hitting his helmet.
But the incident only appeared to strengthen his resolve and his marathon knock included 18 fours and four sixes. The batsman surpassed his previous best of 147 against Australia in 2015.
“It was tough out there, I was struggling yesterday and I took my time. Today we both decided to dominate the spinners after we got our hundreds,” said Rahane, who started the day on 79.
Off-spinner Jeetan Patel finally broke the big stand by trapping a tired Kohli lbw as he tried to whip away the turning ball but missed the line completely.
Kohli, 27, the only Indian captain to score two double hundreds, was given a standing ovation by the capacity crowd at Indore’s Holkar Stadium, which is hosting its first Test match.
Rahane continued to frustrate the New Zealand bowlers, but finally ran out of steam and was caught behind off Trent Boult. He was also given a rousing send-off. “It was great to see Virat bat the way he did, learnt a lot of things. He’s improving as a batsman and a leader,” said Rahane.
Rohit Sharma (51) and Ravindra Jadeja (17) then added some quick runs with an unbeaten 53-run stand for the sixth wicket. The in-form Sharma, who hit three fours and two sixes during his 63-ball knock, struck his third half-century of the series as India gained firm control of the match.
Jadeja though was guilty of giving away five runs after being penalised by the on-field umpires for straying onto the danger area of the pitch while running between the wickets. Jadeja was warned twice by the umpires before the officials took the extreme step of crediting New Zealand with five runs.
Bowlers Boult and Patel shared two wickets apiece after the visitors were put in to field by India on Saturday.
“Very, very high-quality batting. Took a very good delivery to create half-chances... I think we stuck to our plans well but we were worn down,” said New Zealand coach Mike Hesson. “I think Kohli in particular, I think he took 120 singles, killed us softly.”
India have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series but are looking to complete a whitewash against the tourists.
India (1st innings; overnight 267-3)
M. Vijay c Latham b Patel 10
G. Gambhir lbw Boult 29
C. Pujara b Santner 41
V. Kohli lbw Patel 211
A. Rahane c Watling b Boult 188
R. Sharma (not out) 51
R. Jadeja (not out) 17
Extras (b-4, lb-3, nb-2, w-1) 10
Total (5 wkts dec, 169 overs) 557
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-60, 3-100, 4-465, 5-504
Bowling: T. Boult 32-2-113-2 (w-1); M. Henry 35-3-127-0; J. Patel 40-5-120-2; M. Santner 44-4-137-1; J. Neesham 18-1-53-0 (nb-2)
New Zealand (1st innings)
M. Guptill (batting) 17
T. Latham (batting) 6
Extras (pen-5) 5
Total (no loss, 9 overs) 28
Bowling: M. Shami 2-0-5-0; U. Yadav 2-0-7-0; R. Ashwin 3-1-9-0; R. Jadeja 2-1-2-0
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