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WELLINGTON - The cricketing cliche of taking each ball on its merits and then switching off to deal with the next was never more appropriate on Monday as Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling batted New Zealand into a strong position in the second test against India.
The hosts were 571 for six at the close of the fourth day's play, a lead of 325 runs with McCullum on 281 not out and seemingly in control of the outcome of the match and series after they won the first game by 40 runs.
Watling had scored 124 in the world record sixth-wicket partnership of 352 with his captain as the pair resurrected New Zealand's second innings from 94 for five just after lunch on the third day.
McCullum 281*, Watling 124, Neesham 67*, India a big fat 0
Milestone man McCullum on the brink of greatness
"It was just a grind. We just took each ball at a time, each over at a time, each hour at a time," Watling said of the partnership he and McCullum put together.
"Each session was just about starting again and keeping the partnership going and trying to get as many runs and take as much time out of the game as possible.
"They came at us hard and we weathered the storm and then got a few runs away and just kept trying to take them as deep as we could."
"Definitely proud of the way we went about things today."
The resilience of the pair had showed on India's attack as the day wore on, with all three of their frontline pace bowlers notching more than 39 overs each.
"The first two days we dominated the match and today it was a totally different day," India opener Shikhar Dhawan said. "It was a long day for all of us."
"We came with the mindset we were going to get them all out and chase whatever the target but it didn't go our way."
"McCullum and the other batsmen batted beautifully. ...We have to take it in our stride and be ready for tomorrow."
India must win the match to level the two-test series after the hosts won the first game at Eden Park and Dhawan said he felt there was still confidence in the team they could try to chase down a total if they needed to on the flat wicket.
"The wicket has improved, it got a bit slower and of course we're going to bat tomorrow," Dhawan added.
"They're going to put us in to bat and tomorrow morning we will (look) forward to getting them out and then whatever the target is, we will play accordingly and according to the situation."