Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Zealand take control against India

New Zealand need nine wickets in two days to level the series against India after they seized control of the second test on the third day at McLean Park on Saturday.
India, following on, were 47 for one at stumps in the second innings after Chris Martin produced an inspired spell of pace bowling with the second new ball to help dismiss them for 305 in the first innings after tea, 314 runs behind New Zealand's mammoth 619 for nine declared.
Martin took three for 30 off seven overs, and ended with three for 89, before Iain O'Brien had Harbhajan Singh (18) and Zaheer Khan (eight) dismissed off successive balls.
"I think we're all in a pretty good space -- it's not often New Zealand are in a position to enforce the follow on," Martin told reporters. "The results showed the discipline we bowled with.
"It's still a good wicket. The way we've bowled on it has put India under pressure."
The visitors, who won the first test of the three-match series in Hamilton by 10 wickets, had reduced the deficit to 267 runs but lost the wicket of Sehwag.
The stand-in captain was trapped in front by off-spinner Jeetan Patel for 22, attempting an outlandish slog sweep to a straight delivery that pitched in line.
Rahul Dravid, who top scored with 83 in the first innings, was 11 not out, while Gautam Gambhir was on 14.
"This team has the opportunity to do something special," Laxman said in reference to their precarious position.
"It's a very good batting strip ...(and) we have done some amazing things in the past and we take a lot of confidence from that."
India had begun the day on 79 for three and while they lost Sachin Tendulkar for 49 before lunch when he was well caught by Ross Taylor at first slip off Patel, Dravid and Vangipurappu Laxman appeared to be consolidating their innings.
However, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori threw the ball to part-time bowler Jesse Ryder, who enticed Dravid to chase a wide delivery and he only succeeded in getting a thick edge to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.
An out-of-sorts Yuvraj Singh struggled against Martin's bounce with the second new ball before he was eventually caught at second slip by Tim McIntosh to give Martin his 150th test wicket in the final over before tea.
Martin captured Dinesh Karthik (six) and Laxman after tea before O'Brien cleaned up the tail, with Ryder, who scored 201 in New Zealand's innings, taking a brilliant leaping catch in the gully to dismiss Zaheer Khan.
"He's just one of those naturally talented athletes," Martin said of the burly Ryder's catch.
"To look at him you wouldn't think he could do half the things that he does.
"Today he lulled a guy who was batting nicely into a bad shot. It sums the guy up -- he's a little bit better than you think."

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