Only Weather Gods can save Kiwis

Published: Monday, April 6, 2009, 12:12 [IST]
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Kiwis seek weather Gods help

Wellington: Only weather can stop India from securing a historic victory at Wellington as Kiwis lost four crucial wickets in pursuit of an improbable target of 617.

The Kiwis are still 450 runs behind India with Ross Taylor (69) and James Franklin (26) at the crease. New Zealand still needs to bat out an entire day for to secure a draw against India.

The tourists lead the series 1-0 and need only a draw from this final Test to ensure their first series win in New Zealand since 1968.

New Zealand still needing to bat out an entire day for to secure a draw against India.

The destroyers of New Zealand's first innings, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, cut a swathe through New Zealand's top order, taking two for 50 and two for 36 respectively.

Earlier Monday, India declared at 434 for seven in its second innings to ensure a massive lead.

New Zealand have had their backs against the wall since Saturday, when they were dismissed cheaply for 197 in reply to India's first innings total of 379.

India's second innings was built on the bedrock of a magnificent 167 by opener Gautam Gambhir, who batted for nearly six hours Saturday and Sunday for his second century of the series.

India resumed at 349 for five on Monday and added another 85 runs, with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ending unbeaten on 56 before he declared the innings 75 minutes into the morning session.

Yuvraj Singh also helped pile on the misery for New Zealand, scoring a quick 40, including three consecutive fours and a six off one Iain O'Brien over.

Chris Martin had the best return for the New Zealand bowlers, finishing with three for 70 from 22 overs.

In reply, New Zealand lost their first wicket before lunch with opener Tim McIntosh becoming pace bowler Khan's sixth victim for the match.

McIntosh also became Rahul Dravid's world record 182nd catching victim after the batsman edged Khan into to the slips in the 11th over.

The veteran 36-year-old Dravid eclipsed the record for Test catches by a fielder, previously held by Australia's Mark Waugh.

Daniel Flynn also fell to Khan in the eighth over after lunch, getting an inside edge on a ball seaming into him, which then cannoned into his pad and on to the stumps.

Off-spinner Harbhajan had New Zealand in strife right through his unbroken afternoon spell and Ross Taylor survived an appeal for caught at short leg after initially being given out by umpire Simon Taufel.

Taufel had second thoughts, and referred the decision to the television umpire who ruled the ball hit the ground as it was scooped up by Gambhir.

But Harbhajan had the last laugh, striking twice in the 31st over, first trapping Martin Guptill lbw for 49.

Two balls later Jesse Ryder suffered his second failure of the match -- following a century in the first Test and a double hundred in the second -- edging Harbhajan to Dravid for a duck.


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