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Gambhir, Pujara help India stretch lead to 385

Indore (AFP): Half-centuries from Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara helped India stretch their lead to 385 against New Zealand as the hosts took lunch at 127 for two on day four of the third Test in Indore Tuesday.

The hosts, who started the day on 18 for no loss in their second innings, scored runs at a brisk pace as overnight batsman Pujara and Gambhir put on 76 runs for the second wicket.

Pujara on 50 and skipper Virat Kohli on two were at the crease with India piling on the misery against the New Zealand bowling attack.

Gambhir, who retired hurt on Monday after aggravating his shoulder injury during a desperate dive to avoid a run out, returned to bat after Murali Vijay’s departure for 19.

Gambhir, who was recalled to the Indian team after a two-year gap, scored 50 off 56 balls before giving away a catch to Martin Guptill at cover off Jeetan Patel.

Earlier Ravichandran Ashwin put India firmly in command after he claimed six wickets to help bowl out New Zealand for 299 in their first innings and secure a 258-run lead for the hosts on Monday.

The No.1 ranked India, who took an unassailable 2-0 lead in Kolkata, did not enforce the follow-on but decided to build on the lead in their bid to push for a whitewash.