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NZ hurt India with early strikes in 3rd Test

Indore (AFP): New Zealand bowlers hurt India with early strikes to leave the hosts at 75 for two at lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test in Indore on Saturday.

The hosts, who elected to bat, were hoping to steady the ship after losing their openers through Cheteshwar Pujara, who was 29 at the break, and skipper Virat Kohli, on seven.

Leg-spinner Jeetan Patel got the first break after an unlucky Murali Vijay flicked the ball to short leg and Tom Latham clung on to a wobbling catch. The batsman was on 10.

Recalled opener Gautam Gambhir, who returned to the playing XI after a two-year-gap, looked in good touch after hitting two sixes against Matt Henry in the fourth over of the innings.

Gambhir, who scored 29, put on 34 runs for the second wicket with Pujara as the duo looked like reviving the innings at Holkar Stadium, which is hosting its first-ever Test.

But New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who returned to lead the side after missing the second Test with a viral infection, brought back pace spearhead Trent Boult to break the stand.

Boult cut short Gambhir’s knock, which was studded with three fours and two sixes, after trapping the left-handed batsman lbw on an incoming delivery.

Top-ranked India lead the three-match series 2-0 after pocketing the rubber in Kolkata on Monday.