India 329/3 in Ahmedabad Test; Sehwag, Dravid hit centuries (Roundup)

November 4th, 2010 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Ahmedabad, Nov 4 (IANS) Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid struck hundreds in contrasting styles and India ended the opening day of the first cricket Test against New Zealand at a solid 329 for three here Thursday.

At stumps, Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 13 and V.V.S. Laxman on seven.

On a day when India dominated the proceedings, the Black Caps recovered some ground in the last session by capturing the wickets of the two century-makers after Sehwag and Dravid forged a 237-run partnership for the second wicket.

Sehwag set the tone with his magnificent 173 off 199 balls, his 22nd century in Tests and fifth this year. His knock included 24 fours and a six. Dravid, who has not enjoyed best of form this year, took his time to settle down before notching up his 30th Test hundred. His 104 came from 227 balls with 14 fours.

India also benefited by some sloppy fielding by the visitors. Sehwag was let off thrice, the first when he was on 144 and Jeetan Patel failed to hold on to a return catch. Eleven runs later, in the final over before, tea Hamish Bennett misjudged a catch off Kane Williamson. On resumption, substitute Martin Guptill dropped an easy catch at midwicket.

Dravid, too, was dropped when he was on 28 by wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins, who failed hold on to a low chance off back-up seamer Jesse Ryder.

Sehwag batted with his customary flair, scoring almost a run a ball. The Nawab of Najafgarh brought up his century soon after the lunch break off 111 balls with 17 fours.

Sehwag, who had hurt his knee, came out after tea with Gautam Gambhir as runner. He, however, did not last long and was bowled by Vettori attempting an inside-out drive.

Dravid got his rhythm post lunch and his characteristic drives and cuts flowed. The former India captain needed 151 balls to bring up his 60th Test 50 with the help of eight fours.

His second fifty took only 64 deliveries, moving past Don Bradman in the list of highest century-makers. He was bowled by Chris Martin.

Earlier, Gambhir and Sehwag made the most of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bat and gave the hosts a blistering start, with the 50 of the innings coming in 11.1 overs. But before that he lost the company of Gambhir, who played on trying to drive Ryder.

The New Zealand seamers could gain little help from either the conditions or the pitch, forcing skipper Daniel Vettori to come on to bowl the ninth over. He held one end up with a restrictive line, but the runs kept leaking from the other.

A flamboyant Sehwag brought up his 50 off 49 balls with nine fours.

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, who played key roles in India winning the second Test in Bangalore and with it the series, made way for V.V.S. Laxman and Gambhir. S. Sreesanth retained his place, though Ishant Sharma is also back in the squad after missing the Bangalore Test owing to injury.

Batsman Kane Williamson and seamer Hamish Bennett made their Test debut for New Zealand.

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