2nd Test: Brendon McCullum's rearguard ton keeps New Zealand afloat on Day 3

After New Zealand looked on the ropes at 94-5, Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling ensured India will have to bat again as they wiped out the 246-run first innings deficit to reach 252-5 at stumps on the third day.

Updated: February 16, 2014 12:39 IST
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Wellington: A dogged 158-run stand by century-maker Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling kept New Zealand alive in the second Test against India on Sunday, although the odds continue to favour the tourists. (Highlights)

After New Zealand looked on the ropes at 94-5, McCullum and Watling ensured India will have to bat again as they wiped out the 246-run first innings deficit to reach 252-5 at stumps on the third day. (McCullum hits tons in consecutive Tests vs India)

McCullum, who brought up his ninth Test century with a powerful six off Ishant Sharma, was on 114 with Watling on 52.

However, despite their heroic partnership, New Zealand will likely need to bat through the fourth day, with only a brittle tail to come, if they are to deny India a seemingly inevitable series-levelling victory.

It has been an impressive innings by McCullum who, despite his reputation as a punishing batsman, showed that when the chips are down he can still graft away for the good of the team.

He faced 146 deliveries to bring up his 50, reaching the milestone sweeping Jadeja to the square leg boundary, before upping the pace to cover the second 50 in only 54 balls.

As the score mounted, India were left to rue lost chances when McCullum was dropped on nine by Virat Kohli at short mid-on, and then at 36 when Ishant Sharma put down a caught and bowled opportunity.

At the other end Watling proved the ideal companion as the pair posted a record sixth-wicket partnership for New Zealand against India, eclipsing the previous mark of 137 set by Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan in 1998.

Watling, who brought up his seventh half century, has faced 208 deliveries for his patient 52.

However, with two days remaining, time favours India registering their first win on tour after losing the first Test by 40 runs and being beaten in the one-day series 4-0.

Winning the toss put them on the front foot immediately as the Indian seamers made full use of a green wicket to roll New Zealand for 192.

India replied with an impressive 438 for a 246-run lead which New Zealand struggled to reel in until McCullum and Watling mounted their rearguard action.

After resuming Sunday at 24-1, New Zealand lost three wickets before lunch, two to Zaheer Khan who had figures of 3-60.

Kane Williamson edged an attempted cover drive to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Donhi and he was out for seven.

New Zealand were then 27-2 and slipped to 52-3 when Hamish Rutherford also nicked Khan to Dhoni and was gone for 35.

Debutant Tom Latham, who made a duck in the first innings, looked more assured the second time around -- until he reached 29, when he prodded at a wide Mohammed Shami delivery and was caught behind.

Corey Anderson went for two shortly after lunch, caught and bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, before McCullum and Watling batted through more than 61 overs and weathered the new ball to get New Zealand through to stumps.

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