Gambhir leads India resistance

Published: Sunday, March 29, 2009, 8:59 [IST]
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Gambhir leads Indian fight back

Napier: New Zealand finally broke a stubborn Indian partnership though it took an umpiring blunder during the middle session on the fourth day of the second cricket test at McLean Park today.

Rahul Dravid was unlucky to be given out to a bat pad catch by Jamie How at short leg for a patient 62 and his anger was justified when replays confirmed the ball had missed the bat.

However, Ian Gould upheld a hopeful New Zealand appeal led by bowler Daniel Vettori.

Dravid's unfortunate demise shortly before the tea interval broke a 133-run stand for the second wicket with Gautam Gambhir, who was sedately approaching his fifth test hundred on 83. Sachin Tendulkar resumes on nine.

India head into the final session on 180 for two and needing another 134 runs before they can start setting New Zealand a fourth innings run chase.

Until Gould's misjudgment, Dravid and Gambhir were slowly enhancing India's prospects of saving the match after they were forced to bat again yesterday when falling 115 runs short of the follow-on mark.

Dravid joined Gambhir when the score was 48 after another brief flurry from Virender Sehwag and, unlike the stand-in captain yesterday, he rarely he showed a willingness to attack.

The 36-year-old batted for 241 minutes and faced 220 balls -- of which only 36 were scored from.

He stroked six boundaries in between periods of dormancy while his solitary six -- down the ground from Jeetan Patel -- was also his first in 24 tests.

Dravid last cleared the ropes against Bangladesh in Dhaka in May 2007 and has only struck 15 in his entire 133-test career.

The classical right-hander, who top-scored with 83 during India's first innings of 305 yesterday, brought up his 56th test fifty from a sluggish 180 balls.

Gambhir was also focused on defence and crease occu pation. He resumed after lunch on 60 and managed just another 23 runs during a session that spanned 30 overs.

He had faced 216 deliveries, 11 of which found the fence.

Vettori's lucky break enabled him to join fellow spinner Jeetan Patel as the only wicket takers.

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