India on top at lunch

Published: Thursday, November 4, 2010, 12:26 [IST]
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India on top at lunch

India got off to a scintillating start in the first test against tourists New Zealand at Motera, notching up 127/1 in the first 30 overs before lunch. Sehwag was not out on 87 off just 84 balls, while Dravid a little more cautious, had scored 12 off 57 balls. Gautam Gambhir's was the lone wicket to have fallen.

India would probably have felt fortunate to have one the toss, incidentally the first in ten matches. Rightly, captain MS Dhoni opted to bat on a wicket that was conducive for the same. Tom Martin opened the bowling with a tidy first over. Gambhir seemed circumspect from the start as is his wont, but Sehwag had come with all guns blazing. He disrupted Martin's figures, sending the paceman for three fours in his second over. The first bludgeon went through the covers, the second past gully and the third was cut through point. It was clear from then on that Sehwag was back in test cricket with a vengeance. Gambhir too got into the act, sending the debutante Hamish Bennett for a four of the next over.

The Vettori brought himself on as a first change bowler in the 8th over to tie down Gambhir with some tight bowling. Second-change bowler Ryder did the same, but Sehwag got struck into him as well, sending the medium pacer for two fours in his first over, one over mid on and one a straight drive. Ryder was successfully able to restrict Gambhir though and caused so many problems for the opener straight up that he got him out bowled in a fortuitous first over.

The off-spinner Jeetan Patel was brought on in the 17th over and Sehwag went after him right away, getting him away for two fours, one through extra cover and mid off and the other through point. Vettori kept pummeling away at Dravid at the other end without success. Dravid appeared to be struggling to find his footing, but kept the ball away from his stumps. Meanwhile Patel was still having problems with Sehwag who hit him for two consecutive fours in the 21st over, one being a deftly played late cut shot. There was more big shots to come as Sehwag again sent Patel for two back-to-back fours in the 25th over, causing Patel to rethink his line and length over and over.

At the end of the session, India was without doubt on top. Sehwag was looking in blistering form and Dravid, still to hit his stride, was keeping him company. The New Zealand bowlers will have to rethink their strategy if they are to make the second session more interesting.


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