Kiwis in India - Laxman, Chopra save India the blushes

Published: Friday, October 10, 2003, 3:09 [IST]
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Mohali: Venkatsai Laxman slammed an unbeaten 67 to help India survive a Daryl Tuffey scare in the second and final cricket Test against New Zealand which ended in a draw on Monday.

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The solid middle-order batsman followed his first-innings 104 not out with an unbeaten half-century under pressure as India reached 136-4 in their second innings at stumps on the fifth and final day after conceding a lead of 206.The two-Test series ended in a stalemate following the drawn opening match at Ahmedabad, the first time in three years that India had failed to win a home Test series.India were in trouble at 18-3 in their second innings immediately after lunch following a three-wicket burst by Tuffey, but Laxman came to their rescue with a 110-run stand for the fourth wicket with Aakash Chopra on Monday.Playing only his second Test, Chopra also gave a good account of himself in a tight situation as he scored a solid 52 for his second successive half-century.

Tall fast bowler Tuffey had briefly raised visions of New Zealand's maiden Test series win in India when he grabbed two quick wickets in the first innings and three in the second to inject life into the "dead" match.Man of the Series Laxman and Chopra then defied the Tuffey-inspired attack with responsible knocks, taking no risks during their big stand to steer their team to safety.Although New Zealand did not win the Test, they enhanced their reputation with their first drawn series in India since 1969-70.They also enforced a follow-on in India for the first time since 1964-65, bowling the hosts out for 424 in the first innings in reply to their total of 630-6 declared.New Zealand were indebted to Man of the Match Tuffey for denting India's batting pride at home as the skilful bowler gave a fine exhibition of seam bowling on an unhelpful track.

The 25 year old had opener Virender Sehwag (one) and stand-in captain Rahul Dravid (five) caught by Stephen Fleming at first slip, and then bowled star batsman Sachin Tendulkar (one) through bat and pad in the second innings.Tuffey was the star performer early in the morning as he accounted for a run out and captured two wickets off successive balls to finish with 4-80.India needed 41 runs with four wickets in hand to make the tourists bat again, but fell seven short of the follow-on target of 431 after resuming at 390-6.

Laxman, 86 overnight, completed his fifth Test century but lacked support from the other end. He struck 11 fours in his 282-ball knock.India's slide began with a pair of run outs. Anil Kumble (five) was caught short of the crease, failing to beat a Tuffey throw from mid-on. Paceman Ian Butler had a hand in Harbhajan Singh's run-out. He tried to stop a Laxman straight-drive on his follow-through and the ball deflected on to the stumps, with the batsman out of the crease.Tuffey had tail-enders Laxmipathy Balaji and Zaheer Khan caught behind off successive deliveries to end India's first innings before returning to haunt the hosts again in the second.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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