Mohali: India was trying to recover from two early blows as they reached 267 for three in their first innings at lunch on the penultimate day of the series-deciding second cricket Test against New Zealand in Mohali on Sunday. The Indians lost the prized wickets of stand-in captain Rahul Dravid (13) and centurion Virender Sehwag (130) in quick succession early in the day and were in real danger of suffering the ignominy of a follow on, slumping to 218 for three at one stage. But Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman joined hands to bat with patience and helped the team recover somewhat from the setbacks, stitching an unbroken 49-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Tendulkar was batting on 23 and Laxman on 34 at the lunch break with the home team still needing 164 runs to avoid the follow on. Resuming at their overnight score of 203 for one in reply to New Zealand's mammoth first innings total of 630 for six declared, the Indians could add just 64 runs in the session while losing the two important wickets. Dravid began the proceedings with a flourish by slamming the first ball from Daryl Tuffey to the square leg fence but perished in the second over of the morning with newcomer Ian Butler doing the damage.
The reliable Dravid, who scored 222 and 73 in the first drawn Test in Ahmedabad, edged an outgoing delivery from Butler and wicketkeeper Robbie Hart made no mistake bringing his 96-minute vigil to an end.