Styris joins runs feast as Kiwis fly high

Published: Saturday, October 18, 2003, 0:20 [IST]
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Mohali: Scott Styris led New Zealand's run-spree with a career-best 119 in the second and final cricket Test to help the tourists post their highest total against India in Mohali. New Zealand batted through a second consecutive day on Friday to reach 536-5 at stumps and surpass their previous best score of 502 against the Indians, made at Christchurch in 1967-68. Styris became the third New Zealander in the match to compile a Test-best score after openers Mark Richardson (145) and Lou Vincent (106), eclipsing his previous high of 107 against the West Indies at Grenada last year.

This is only the seventh instance in Test cricket, and the first against India, that the top three batsmen have made centuries in an innings. Styris cracked two sixes and 10 fours in his second Test hundred and put on 151 for the second wicket with Richardson to strengthen his team's position. Craig McMillan also joined the run-feast, scoring an unbeaten 58 for his third successive half-century in the series. India struggled for wickets for the second day as their seamers and spinners lacked the bite to put pressure on the New Zealand batsmen on an easy-paced track. Leg-spinner Anil Kumble, who turned 33 on Friday, bagged two wickets but had little reason to smile as he conceded as many as 149 runs. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also failed to strike at the right time despite dismissing Nathan Astle (18) for his 150th Test victim, giving away 131 runs. India's catching also left a lot to be desired as they squandered three chances.

Richardson had added just nine runs to his overnight score of 102 when he edged Kumble, but stand-in captain Rahul Dravid reacted too late to latch on to the ball at lone slip. Dravid, leading India in the absence of the injured Sourav Ganguly, had also let off Richardson on Thursday when the batsman was on 10. Parthiv Patel had a bad day behind the stumps, conceding 21 byes and also letting off Styris on 118 off part-time bowler Sachin Tendulkar. The batsman fell a run later, trapped leg-before by Kumble. Astle also had a 'life' on nine when he drove Kumble to mid-wicket where debutant Yuvraj Singh made a good diving attempt, but failed to hold the ball.

The Indian bowlers faced a testing time after the tourists had resumed at their overnight score of 247 for one. Harbhajan struck first when he had Richardson caught by Kumble at long-on, but not before the batsman had overtaken his previous best of 143 against Bangladesh at home last year and completed 2,000 Test runs. Left-handed Richardson struck 19 fours in his marathon 548-minute knock. India then had to rely on the versatile Tendulkar for their second success after the specialist bowlers failed to deliver. Tendulkar deceived skipper Stephen Fleming (30) off the wicket and knocked back the off-stump, but New Zealand were already on course for a huge total at that stage.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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