Mayank Agarwal compiled a gritty 52 off 81 on day three of the first Test between India and New Zealand at the Basin Reserve, Wellington on Sunday to keep India in the fight, after the hosts had taken a 183-run lead in the morning session. At tea, India had scored 78/2, trailing NZ by 105 runs.

After the NZ innings came to an end in the first session, India openers Prithvi Shaw and Agarwal played out a tough passage of play with NZ new-ball bowlers – Tim Southee and Trent Boult – giving away nothing. NZ were on point with their strategy of using the short pitch delivery against the Indian pair and Boult reaped the rewards when Shaw could keep a short one down and lobbed it to backward square leg, where Tom Latham took a terrific diving catch.

Agarwal was joined by Cheteshwar Pujara and the duo went out rebuilding the Indian innings in a patient manner and shaved off the deficit. Agarwal was watchful against the pacers but once Ajaz Patel, the left-arm spinner, was introduced into the attack, Agarwal saw his chance and opened up, He took a four and a six off Patel’s first over – the 27th of the Indian innings.

Pujara, at the other end, did have his struggles with the short pitch stuff and even survived a close call off Kyle Jamieson. It was a short one on middle and Pujara was taken by surprise. He took his eyes off the ball and tried to fend it but the ball kissed some part of the arm and went to the keeper. The subsequent appeal was turned down and New Zealand took the review. Replays rolled in but the third umpire had difficulty in deciding whether it is the arm guard or the glove. Hot Spot showed a mark on the arm guard and after some more replays, the umpire did not find anything conclusive to overturn the decision.

The duo put on 51 runs for the second wicket, but right at the stroke of lunch, Pujara made a grave error in judgement shouldering arms to a Trent Boult incoming delivery from an angle bowled from around the wicket and lost his off stump to depart for 11 off 81 balls.

Brief Scores: India 78/2 (Mayank Agarwal 52; Trent Boult 2/17) & 165 (Ajinkya Rahane 46, Mayank Agarwal 34; Kyle Jamieson 4/39) trail New Zealand 348 (Kane Williamson 89, Kyle Jamieson 44; Ishant Sharma 5/68) by 105 runs