Gambhir takes India to verge of history

Published: Sunday, April 5, 2009, 12:01 [IST]
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Gambhir leads india 'close' to history

Wellington: India dominated play on day three as Gautam Gambhir helped to extend the lead to 531 and the tourists edged closer to their first series win in New Zealand in 30 years.

Gautam Gambhir scored 167 runs to cement India's dominant position in the third test against New Zealand, leading them to 349/5 in their second innings at stumps on the third day at the Basin Reserve.

The play was called off a little early due to the bad light when India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Yuvraj Singh (15) were at the crease.

The tourists began the day on 51 for one after a five-wicket haul from Zaheer Kahn and six catches for captain MS Dhoni helped dismiss the hapless New Zealanders in quick time and leave them 182 runs in arrears.

Gambhir struck 16 boundaries and two sixes to thoroughly entertain a jam-packed Sunday afternoon crowd in Wellington.

Gambhir, who resumed this morning on 28, brought up his half-century from 76 with seven boundaries. His second 50 took just 62 balls as he stroked another half dozen boundaries and a six off Iain O'Brien.

He took another 85 deliveries to reach 150. India lost Rahul Dravid (60) and Sachin Tendulkar (nine) in the second session but Gambhir carried on the onslaught to extend India's lead above 500.

It was Ian O'Brien who ended Gambhir's magnum opus by trapping him plumb in front of the wicket. By the time Gambhir fell to Brien after a marathon 167 run-knock, not only had the Indian second innings total gone past 300, but the overall lead exceeded 500.

O'Brien took his second wicket when he clean bowled Laxman with a sharp incoming delivery that went through the gap to rattle Laxman's off-stump. Laxman hit 9 fours in his 61-run knock, his 39th career half-century.

Dravid added three to his lunch score before departing for 60 from 145 balls, his 57th test half-century and the fourth in five innings in this series.

Tendulkar bade farewell in strangely muted fashion when he nicked out to Vettori, Ross Taylor pouched an excellent catch diving to his right at slip.

Tendulkar signed off from his fifth tour of New Zealand with nine, his final act of aggression being a lofted six down the ground off Vettori.


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