India declare with lead of 373, Kiwis 24/1

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Published: Monday, November 22, 2010, 17:10 [IST]
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Ind declare with lead of 373, Kiwis 24/1

After tea, Rahul Dravid and M S Dhoni picked up from where they had left off. They steadily kept piling on the runs and building on India's already gigantic lead. But just two short of his century, Dhoni fell to Vettori, caught and bowled. It was a tame dismissal for one hurricane of an innings.

After that disappointment, Dravid got back to the task at hand. In the 153rd over, he got on top of Southee, hitting him for two boundaries, one past fine leg and one, between the bowler and mid off. India had moved onto 532/6 in 153 overs. In the next over, he went after Vettori, sending him for a four to fine leg. The fielding side was wilting under pressure as India surged ahead.

But there was some respite for the tourists when Dravid got out for 191, caught by Guptill at long on off Williamson. With Ishant Sharma the new man in, the Kiwis would have been fancying their chances at finishing off India's innings. But soon after Bhajji got out to Chris Martin for 20, India declared at 566/8. India had a huge lead of 373 runs.

In their second innings, the Kiwis got off to a forceful start, picking Sreesanth for 9 runs off the first over. But from then on, both batsmen were more circumspect, just fending off the bowlers and giving a lot of maidens in the process. Ojha was introduced in the 6th over itself, but could not make any immediate impact. Harbhajan was brought on soon after and in his second over itself, he got McIntosh lbw for 8. With New Zealand's score 18/1, wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins was sent in as the nightwatchman. He and McCullum batted out the last few overs, taking the Kiwi total to 24/1 at stumps.

New Zealand's bowlers began Day 3 of the third test on a positive note. The debutant pace bowler McKay picked up his maiden test wicket by dismissing Tendulkar for 61 in the 84th over. The new batsman in the middle VVS Laxman, counter attacked by slapping McKay for two fours in his next over.

But pretty soon, seamer Chris Martin got on top of Laxman, getting him out bowled with an in-swinger in the 89th over for a mere 12. Suresh Raina, on a poor run with the bat, struggled to reverse the trend, but was out caught at short leg off Vettori for just 3.

Then captain M S Dhoni came to the crease with India wobbling at 328/4. Together with Dravid, he built a steady and useful partnership. His batting took on an aggressive tone early on when he smacked McKay for three consecutive fours in the 99th over, one past mid on, one through point and one through the covers. He was a little more cautious from then on right upto lunch when Dravid and he had taken India to 386/5 with a lead of nearly 200.

The two resumed their devastating partnership after lunch, first taking India's lead to 200 in the 118th over and the moving the score to over 400/5. Shortly afterwards, Dhoni brought up his fifty with a streaky boundary between the keeper and first slip off Vettori. He had hit 8 fours up to that point in what had been a fairly breezy innings.

In the 131st over, Dhoni reasserted his authority over McKay by giving him the charge and carting him for a straight six to take India to over the 450-run mark. Later in the over, he drilled the ball past the bowler for a boundary.

In the 139th over, Dhoni slammed Tim Southee for a boundary to take India to a lead of over 300 runs. With his century approaching, he was far from running out of steam. In the 141st over, India moved past the 500-run mark with chances of any sort of come back looked very bleak for the Kiwis. India were squarely and firmly in control. The batting pair took India's score to a mammoth 510/5 at tea.


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