India in control after second day of final New Zealand Test
Sachin Tendulkar’s 59th half century helped put India in complete control on the second day of the third Test against New Zealand in Naipur.
The home side closed play on 292 for two with a lead of 99 after all top four batsmen made 50’s.
While New Zealand were unable to muster a single half-century partnership during their first innings, India’s openers, Gautam Gambhir (78) and Virender Sehwag (74), set the tone for the home side from the outset as they raced to 113 off just 139 balls.
Sehwag in particular was in devastating form, smashing 12 fours as he made 74 off just 73 balls before falling cheaply to Vettori. Having earlier scored three consecutive fours off the New Zealand captain, Sehwag lobed one back down the track giving Vettori an easy catch and his only wicket on a particularly disappointing day for him.
The more cautious Gambhir soon followed as he edged a delivery from Tim Southee down to Ross Taylor at gully.
However, India’s most experienced batsmen Tendulkar (57 not out) and Rahul Dravid (69 not out) – who made his 60th Test half century – kept up the momentum as they put on their 19th Test century partnership – the most between any pair in Test cricket history.
Tendulkar is now only 43 runs away from his 50th Test century and the partisan home fans will be praying their hero can reach this milestone when play resumes on Monday.
Earlier New Zealand were only able to add 45 runs to their overnight score as they were bowled out for 193.
Ishant Sharma finished with impressive figures of 4/43 after he dismissed injured overnight batsman Brendon McCullum (40) and debutant Andy McKay (5). While spinner Pragyan Ojha (3/57) had Tim Southee, whose impressive 38 include three sixes and two fours, caught at long on.
India, the top ranked Test side in the World, are now in pole position to win the match and the series after the first two games in the series ended in draws.