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Carter: BJ-Brendon partnership was key

Wellington: Heaping praise on Brendon McCullum and B J Watling for their spirited batting in the ongoing third Test against India, New Zealand’s assistant coach Bob Carter on Sunday said their effort has given the home team “a lot of heart” to fight the tough battle of survival in the match.

The Kiwis are still far from safety, but they have wiped off the 246-run first-innings deficit and taken a slender six-run lead. Carter praised McCullum (114 batting) and Watling (52 batting) for their performances on Day 3, wherein they put on 158 runs for the sixth wicket to defy the visitors. “After the first hour or so, the mood wasn’t good. But with the wonderful partnership between BJ and the captain, it has given us a lot of heart to take into tomorrow,” he said.

“The key for us was to have a partnership. We were really struggling in the morning. This was a real test of us today and tomorrow is the same — test of our batting to see whether we can put a score on the board in order to put India under pressure.

“They are a fine team, they are going to come out and bowl well again tomorrow. We know we have got a challenge on our hands, and it is something we are really looking forward to,” he added.

In the morning session, New Zealand were reduced to 87/4 at one stage and then lost a further wicket in the post-lunch session, but McCullum and Watling resisted the disciplined Indian bowling after tea, to take the match into a fourth day.

“Brendon has now combined a lot of his game with defence. Today was a tough day of Test cricket,” Carter said.