New Zealand takes firm control of Napier Test

Published: Saturday, March 28, 2009, 12:17 [IST]
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New Zealand in control with big lead

Napier: Indians will have to bat exceptionally well to save the Test against New Zealand after being forced to follow on during the third day at Napier.

India's second innings too started on on a disastrous note as stand-in captain Sehwag dismissed cheaply to Patel and India ended day 3 at 47/1. The tourists still trail by 267 days with two full days to follow the Test. At close of play, Gautam Gambhir (14) and Rahul Dravid (11) were at the crease.

Earlier, India were made to follow-on after they were dismissed for 305 runs. India lost their last four wickets for 35 runs after tea and a chuffed Daniel Vettori had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on.

Even though Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman got off to good startsbut,  they couldn't convert that in to big scores. Dravid shared partnerships of 87 with Sachin Tendulkar (49) and 81 with Laxman (76) but after he was removed by Jesse Ryder for 83 shortly before tea, and the last six Indian wickets fell for only 59 runs.

India had appeared in a reasonable position to avoid the follow on after Dravid shared long partnerships with Tendulkar and Laxman to take India from 78 for three to 246 for four.

But the hosts regained control when Dravid was removed by Ryder late in the second session after he attempted to square cut a short delivery but only succeeded in edging behind to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.

Yuvraj Singh then fell to Chris Martin four overs later for a duck when his intended cover drive was lofted into the hands of Tim McIntosh at second slip, leaving India reeling on 253 for six at tea.

It was the first of three wickets for Martin who had Dinesh Karthik taken at third slip by Ryder for six before claiming the crucial wicket of Laxman, who edged to McIntosh at second slip.

Iain O'Brien swept up the tail with Harbhajan Singh going for 18 after pulling to Martin at deep square leg and Zaheer Khan falling for eight on the next ball after Ryder took an excellent catch at gully.

Kiwis, who are looking to bounce back from a 10-wicket loss in last week's opening Test in Hamilton, were in a strong position on resumption this morning after removing Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Ishant Sharma late yesterday to leave India on 79 for three.

But Dravid and Tendulkar gave the tourists hope with a fourth wicket stand of 87.

After a slow start, Tendulkar appeared set for a big total, bashing Patel for 14 runs off four balls with a pair of fours and a six to move just a run short of his 52nd Test fifty

But Patel gained his revenge at the start of the next over with a delivery that held its line outside off stump and was edged by Tendulkar to Ross Taylor at first slip.


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