Indian top-order heaps misery on New Zealand

Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar led India’s strong reply with unbeaten half-centuries in the series-deciding third and final Test against New Zealand on Sunday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 21 Nov 2010, 6:10 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:48 AM

The veteran batsmen anchored the innings following the dismissal of openers Gautam Gambhir (78) and Virender Sehwag (74) to take India to 292-2 at stumps on the second day of the match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.

India were ahead by 99 runs with eight wickets in hand after having bundled out the visitors for 193 early in the morning session.

Tendulkar survived some hostile bowling from New Zealand’s quicks to play some breathtaking shots on either side of the wicket. He had so far hit seven boundaries in his 57-run knock off 126 balls.

Dravid played in typically sedate fashion, making 69, including eight hits to the boundary.

He added 79 runs with Gambhir for the second wicket and another 100 for the next with Tendulkar, who brought up his first half-century of the series and 59th of his career to delight the home crowd.

The Indians got off to a flying start in their first innings, thanks to an entertaining knock by Sehwag.

Sehwag clubbed paceman Tim Southee (1-41) for two successive fours and hoisted left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori over long-on for a huge six en route to his 26th Test half-century.

He hit Vettori again for three fours in a row but ended up offering a tame return catch to the Kiwi captain shortly into the afternoon session.

Gambhir opened up after a cautious start to hit 12 fours during his 127-ball innings, which was cut short when he slashed Southee to Ross Taylor in the slips.

Earlier, paceman Ishant Sharma (4-43) picked up two quick wickets before left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (3-57) removed last-man Southee to wrap up New Zealand’s first innings in less than 11 overs.

Southee hit three sixes, two of those in an over by off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, in his cameo 38-run knock.

Brendon McCullum, laid low by back spasms that forced him to bat at number eight, gifted away his wicket by poking at a delivery outside the off-stump by Sharma. He could add just six runs to his overnight 34.

In his opener’s role, McCullum had hit a maiden double-century in the second Test in Hyderabad.

Sharma claimed his fourth wicket of the match by bowling debutant Andy McKay through the gate for five.

The first two matches of the series ended in draws.

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