Mohali: Lou Vincent and Mark Richardson struck heroic centuries as they joined hands to script a huge 231-run opening stand and put New Zealand in complete control of the series-deciding second cricket Test against India in Mohali on Thursday.
The young Vincent's career-best 106 and his association with Mark Richardson (102 not out) virtually left the Indians in a daze as the visitors ended the opening day at a commanding first innings score of 247 for one. Electing to bat, the two openers showed remarkable grit and resilience as they went about providing the perfect launchpad for the Kiwis to not only put the hosts under enormous pressure but also harbour hopes of registering their first series win on Indian soil. Scott Styris (11) was giving Richardson company when stumps were drawn for the day that was completely dominated by the Kiwis.
It was a rather nightmarish day for stand-in captain Rahul Dravid, the 28th skipper in India's Test history, as his bowlers were made to toil the entire day without any rewards on what appeared to be a good batting track. The only breakthrough for India came when leg spinner Anil Kumble put an end to the record-breaking partnership, getting rid of Vincent late in the day, much to the relief of a meagre crowd which did its best to pep up the demoralised home team.