India in familiar zone, Kiwis smell big victory

Published: Saturday, December 21, 2002, 19:40 [IST]
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Hamilton (New Zealand) : India's woeful batsman collapsed to pace again on Saturday, but they were consoled by New Zealand's equally ugly display at the crease as 22 wickets fell in a sensational day of Test cricket. A battered New Zealand side emerged from the third day of the Test needing 136 runs to win the Test, after finishing off India's first innings for 99 runs and claiming all 10 Indian second-innings wickets for 154. In between the Kiwis crashed to 94 in their first innings, their lowest ever total against India, on a pitch that turned out to be a batsman's nightmare and seamer's delight. It was the first time in Test history that the two teams have each been dismissed for less than 100 in the first innings. India was shot out for 99 after resuming at 92 for eight, with the quick fall of the final two wickets giving a hint of the carnage to follow. Left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan (5/29) caused the most damage, taking five wickets for 29 runs in a career-best haul that brought the Indians back into the match. New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming top-scored with 21, while Mark Richardson (13), Scott Styris (13) and Daryl Tuffey (13) were the other batsmen to reach double- figures. Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra (2/20) and off spinner Harbhajan Singh were the other Indian wicket-takers. New Zealand's total of 94 was its worst batting performance against India in 42 Tests. Its previous lowest total against India was 100 in the opening Test at Wellington in 1980-81. But in an omen the Kiwis will be hoping to draw on, they still managed to win the match. In India's second innings, New Zealand paceman Tuffey (4/41) was the main destroyer, rattling the top order and then never allowing the batsmen to settle down with his probing line and length. The tourists were immediately in trouble when Tuffey bowled make-shift opener Parthiv Patel for nought in his opening over and then held a return catch to dismiss Sanjay Bangar (7) in his third. Rahul Dravid top-scored for India with a 99-ball 39 before he fell cutting seamer Jacob Oram to substitute Michael Mason at deep point. Oram (4/41) provided crucial support as India failed to put on a big stand required to put pressure on the hosts. Batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar (32) fell just when he had begun to look dangerous as he inside-edged a Tuffey delivery on to his stumps. Virender Sehwag (25), an opener, was sent in at number seven to score briskly but fell immediately after plundering 14 runs off four balls against fast bowler Shane Bond. But he firmly drove the fifth delivery straight to Tuffey who took a superb catch at mid-off. Skipper Saurav Ganguly also fell to a brilliant catch when wicket-keeper Robbie Hart dived to his left to hold the ball inches off the ground. Needing 160 to win, New Zealand was 24 for no loss in its second innings at stumps on the third day as the match headed for an exciting finish at the Westpac Park. The hosts require 136 more runs to win the match and series 2-0. Mark Richardson was batting on 18 with Lou Vincent on six.

Scorecard of Test 2 Day 3
Bowlers call shots on 'devil' pitch, Zaheer gets 5
India upset at preferential treatment for home team

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