India recover after initial hiccups

Published: Monday, October 20, 2003, 21:23 [IST]
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Mohali: India were struggling to keep their home reputation intact after being reduced to 68 for three in their second innings in the second and final cricket Test against New Zealand at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. At tea on the fifth and final day of the series decider, Aakash Chopra, batting on 22 and first innings centurion V V S Laxman on 38, were reviving the Indian innings which had slumped to 18 for three at one stage. The top order collapse followed the humiliation of being asked to follow-on after being dismissed for 424, falling short of the New Zealand's first innings total 630 for six declared by 207 runs.

Resuming at 396 for six, the Indian innings lasted one hour into the morning session before two run outs and good use of the morning conditions by seamer Daryl Tuffey spelt doom for the Indians. Tuffey, who finished with four for 80 in India's first innings, returned to grab three for 17 in the second essay to push them close to a rare home defeat. Tuffey had Virender Sehwag(1) caught by Stephen Fleming and the two combined once more to see of captain Rahul Dravid(5).

Then came the big blow when Tuffey broke through the defense of Sachin Tendulkar(1). Standing tall amidst ruins was Laxman who notched up his fifth Test century after converting his overnight 86 not out into an unbeaten 104 before the first innings ended. Laxman was still India's saving grace as he tried to steer the rocky boat out of danger with Chopra as the match entered the final session.

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