Agarwal reaches 50 as India chip away at NZ's lead

WELLINGTON: Mayank Agarwal scored his fourth test half century as India inched to 78-2 at tea on the third day of the first test at the Basin Reserve on Sunday, although their side still trail New Zealand by 105 runs.

Agarwal was 52 at the break and will be joined by captain Virat Kohli when they return after Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled for 11 by Trent Boult on the final ball before tea.

New Zealand had been dismissed for 348 in their first innings before lunch.

The hosts had an early breakthrough when they had Prithvi Shaw brilliantly caught by Tom Latham at backward square leg as he paddled a ball from Boult off his hip and the New Zealander threw himself full length to take the catch.

The hosts had established an 183-run first innings lead after they were dismissed before lunch with Colin de Grandhomme, debutant Kyle Jamieson and Boult counter-attacking to bolster their advantage.

They had held a slim 51-run lead when play began and when Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma grabbed two quick wickets, the hosts looked unlikely to extend it beyond 100.

De Grandhomme and Jamieson, however, then put on 71 runs before the tall pace bowler, who hit four sixes, was caught by Hanuma Vihari from Ravichandran Ashwin before de Grandhomme was caught by Rishabh Pant from the off-spinner.

Boult, however, then shared in a 38-run, 10th-wicket stand with Ajaz Patel, whose sole responsibility was to hold up the other end.

Patel, who was on four when the partnership began, finished four not out when Boult was caught by Pant for 38 and became Ishant's fifth wicket of the innings.

Ishant, who had been under an injury cloud with a torn ankle ligament before the series, finished with 5-68.