Thursday, March 26, 2009

INDIA VS NEWZELAND 2nd TEST:Taylor, Ryder tons settles NZ

Ross Taylor scored his third Test century and Jesse Ryder his second in a record 271-run fourth-wicket partnership which lifted New Zealand out of trouble and to 351 for four at stumps on the first day of the second Test against India.Taylor and Ryder were thrown together in only the 11th over on Thursday, with New Zealand's innings in collapse at 23 for three. They pursued their partnership for the next 58.2 overs to lift the home side to 294-4 before Taylor was out for 151.The partnership was the highest by a New Zealand pair for all wickets against India, beating 231, and the highest for New Zealand's fourth wicket against all nations, beating the previous mark of 241.Ryder was unbeaten on 137 at stumps, having batted more than seven hours for his second century in consecutive Tests after his 102 at Hamilton, where India won by 10 wickets.Taylor's century was his first in five Tests, since his 115 against Australia at Brisbane in November.

Taylor struggled to curb his aggressive nature and offered chances throughout his innings before finally lofting an attempted sweep to Yuvraj Singh on the square leg boundary off Harbhajan Singh in the final session.Ryder, in contrast, played a composed and technically expert innings, limiting his scoring shots to precise and predetermined areas and offering few opportunities to the fielding side.India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ruled out of the match on Thursday with a back injury, handing the captaincy to Virender Sehwag who led India for only the second time in a Test.Taylor's innings of 262 minutes and 204 balls was still the foundation of New Zealand's strong position at stumps on day one. He had come to the crease when New Zealand were in the throes of an early collapse and was the first batsman to offer resistance to India's attack."I think I was a bit more nervous than normal," Taylor said. "I haven't had a score for a while in the Test arena so I was happy to get one today.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself with goals and high standards and the way I've played over the last few months hasn't lived up to those standards. This wasn't the best hundred I've got but it was good to get there."

Taylor praised Ryder's contribution. "A lot credit has to go to Jesse," he said. "I think he played outstandingly well and to still be there, after over six hours, he's been great."He played a big part in my innings today. He kept me going and I have to thank him."Ryder and Taylor batted for more than two full sessions to change the course of the opening day and to answer captain Daniel Vettori's call on batsmen to occupy the crease for long periods.It was a message lost on New Zealand's top order as Tim McIntosh was out, unluckily, for 12, Jamie How for 1 and Martin Guptill for 8.

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