Saturday, April 4, 2009


Zaheer Khan claimed his sixth five-wicket Test haul and Mahendra Singh Dhoni held six catches as New Zealand was dismissed for 197 runs in reply to India's first innings of 379 on the second day of the third Test on Saturday.Zaheer had figures of 5-65 and Harbhajan Singh had 3-43 before India reached 51-1 in its second innings to take an overall lead of 233 runs in the last match of three-Test series, which India leads 1-0.Gautam Gambhir was 28 not out and Rahul Dravid was on 9 at close of play.Virender Sehwag was out for 12 — with three fours — in the second over of India's second innings, but the tourists reached stumps without further loss to hold a commanding position.Dhoni became only the second Indian wicketkeeper to complete six dismissals in an innings, after Syed Kirmani's effort against New Zealand in 1976, and the first to do so with six catches. Four keepers have claimed seven catches in a match and Dhoni is now the 14th to take six dismissals in an innings.The second day encompassed parts of three innings. India was out in the morning after resuming its first innings at 375-9. Ishant Sharma made 18 and Munaf Patel 15 not out in a 32-run 10th-wicket partnership which added substance to India's total.Zaheer set in motion the decline of New Zealand's innings when he claimed the wickets of Martin Guptill for 17 and Daniel Flynn for 2 in the morning session to send New Zealand to lunch at 64 for two.

The strong right-armer, spearhead of the Indian attack, then claimed the first two wickets to fall in the second session, removing Tim McIntosh for 32 and dangerman Jesse Ryder for 3.
The Indians enthusiastically celebrated the wicket of Ryder, who was the second batsman caught by Dhoni, recognizing his as the vital wicket after his 201 in the drawn second Test at Napier.When Harbhajan Singh dismissed Ross Taylor for 42, the innings' top score, and James Franklin for 15, New Zealand was 125-6 and the follow on had become an issue.New Zealand needed 179 to avoid having to bat again and had slipped to 160-8, with the loss of captain Daniel Vettori for 11 and Tim Southee for 16, before that threat was avoided.

Brendon McCullum made 24 in 88 minutes and Iain O'Brien batted 49 minutes for 19 — his highest Test score — to avoid the follow on. O'Brien put on 16 for New Zealand's last wicket with Chris Martin who hit a lofted straight drive off Harbhajan for four, his first runs in any form of cricket since November.Dhoni's catches removed Flynn and Ryder off Zaheer, Franklin and McCullum off Harbhajan, Vettori off Sharma and O'Brien off Patel to end the innings, giving him his best innings return in Tests.Zaheer completed his five-wicket haul when he caught Southee off his own bowling in the 55th over.New Zealand gained a small consolation when it dismissed Sehwag before stumps but, with three days remaining, faces a huge battle to save the match and series."It was one of those days we didn't get it right and as a result we're a fair way behind," New Zealand opener McIntosh said."We've got a lot of work to do. We didn't really get one good partnership going. There were glimmers of it for a wee bit and it just wasn't able to be carried out properly. It was a shame in that aspect."India won the first Test at Hamilton by 10 wickets and needs only a draw at the Basin Reserve to become the first Indian team to win a test series in New Zealand in 41 years.

No comments: