Mohali Test: NZ forces an honorable draw

Published: Thursday, October 14, 1999, 5:30 [IST]
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For the third day in succession, the batsmen enjoyed absolute control over the Mohali Test and a "drawn game" turned out to be the most appropriate result. The New Zealand pacemen set a terrific pace on the opening day to rout India to a pathetic total of 83.

Then a superb swing and seam spell of bowling by Javagal Srinath helped the home team to restrict the visiting side to a total of 215. Those performances by the pacemen of the rival taems clearly suggested that this first of the three-Test Series was heading for a positive result.

But the top order batsmen of both combinations excelled to frusutrate the bowlers for the last three days of this five-day game. Hence the result "DRAWN" was justified.

Set to get 374 for victory, New Zealand finished the final day at 251for seven in 135 overs. New Zealand, at the end of the fourth day, was on 81 for one in 45 overs. That the New Zealanders were not going to get overwhelmed by the Indian attack was indicated during that period itself when Mathew Horne and Craig Spearman, the unbeaten second wicket pair put up a defensive posture.

No doubt, this morning, India's left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi succeeded twice (Horne and Spearman) at 95 and 108 to kindle India's hopes. But New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle batted like seasoned warriors to upset India's plans.

Fleming and Astle were so stubborn that the famous Indian attack struggled in vain to adopt a suitable method to disturb the pair's concentration. Only when the new ball was taken (178 for 3 in 100 overs) did India gain its fourth success of the innings.

The brilliant Srinath forced Astle into error and wicket keeper MSK Prasad accepted a snick gleefully. Craig McMillan joined Fleming and was not in his customary courageous mood. His defensive methods were tentative. However, he managed to stay there with his captain for a longer time than expected.

This pair could be separated only in the 120th over when Anil Kumble lured McMillan to put up a bat-pad catch to S.Ramesh at silly point.


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