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India take unassailable lead

Tourists achieve another effortless victory vs NZ

India’s Ambati Rayudu plays a shot against New Zealand during their third one day international cricket match at Bay Oval, Tauranga, New Zealand, Jan 28. (AP )

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand, Jan 28, (AP): Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma made half centuries in a 113-run partnership to steer India to a seven- wicket win over New Zealand in the third oneday international on Monday and a 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

After their eight-wicket win in the first match and its 90-run win in the second, India achieved another effortless victory, overtaking New Zealand’s 243 with seven overs to spare. Sharma was out for 62, his 38th ODI half century and his second of the series after his 87 in the second match at the same venue on Saturday. Kohli was out for 60 after making 45 and 43 in the first two matches.

The success of the Indian run chase wasn’t in doubt after Kohli and Sharma guided the tourists to 152-2 before their partnership was broken in the 29th over. The New Zealand bowlers have managed to take only nine India wickets in the three matches to date.

Ambati Rayudu made 40 and Dinesh Karthik 38 in an unbroken partnership of 77 for the fourth wicket to see India home after 43 overs, the winning runs coming with five wides among 16 bowled by New Zealand. Karthik also kept wicket in place of M.S. Dhoni, who has a hamstring strain. “Again, three clinical games for us,” Kohli said. “We wanted to continue the same. “We couldn’t have asked for a better performance after the first two clinical performances. Just the relentlessness of the side is something that really pleases me.” The New Zealand innings was built around a 119-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Tom Latham and Ross Taylor.

Latham made 51 and Taylor 93 in a stand which began after another poor top-order performance and ended ahead of a limp finish as Taylor fell in the 46th over, just as New Zealand needed to lift their scoring rate. Because of the laborious pace of their scoring, Latham and Taylor needed bigger innings and a more productive partnership to justify the overs their partnership consumed.

India’s bowling was accurate and the Bay Oval pitch, the same one used in the second match of the series two days ago, was slow, not entirely suited to stroke-making. But the only New Zealand pair to become fully established needed to make more of their starts. Taylor reached his half century from 71 balls with four boundaries and Latham followed him to a half century from 62 balls with one four and one six.

At times Taylor appeared to be batting for his average. He came to the wicket early, when New Zealand were 26-2 in the seventh over after the cheap loss of both openers. Latham was in at 59-3 after Kane Williamson fell for 28, to a brilliant catch by Hardik Pandya at midwicket. The pair shared the crease for 21 overs without dominating the bowling. After Latham was out at 178-4, New Zealand quickly lost Henry Nicholls (6) and Mitchell Santner (3), and had to rely on Taylor to build a more competitive total. But he edged a catch to Karthik at 222-6 and the innings dwindled to an end after 49 overs.

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