India continue to dominate Ahmedabad Test (Roundup)

November 5th, 2010 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Ross Taylor Ahmedabad, Nov 5 (IANS) India continued to dominate the first cricket Test despite a middle-order collapse to post an imposing first innings total of 487 and then reduced New Zealand to 69 for two by the end of the second day’s play here Friday.

The visitors were 418 runs behind with Brendon McCullum batting at 38 (75b, 7×4 ) and Ross Taylor 18 (61b, 3×4) at stumps.

Zaheer Khan gave India early breakthrough when Tim McIntosh nicked an easy catch to skipper and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a duck and Pragyan Ojha got hosts the second wicket when he bowled Bradley-John Watling for six.

Earlier, Harbhajan Singh slammed a career-best 69 to bring India close to a 500-plus total. Harbhajan’s innings included a 66-run parternship with fellow spinner Pragyan Ojha, who scored 11.

New Zealand spinners, led by skipper Daniel Vettori, exploited the slow track, wrapping up the Indian batting by tea. The Black Caps, who were handed a brutal treatment by the first day centurions Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid, bowled a far more disciplined line in the morning and were aptly rewarded.

Vettori (4-118), who is playing is 100th Test, struck with three wickets post lunch with swift dismissals of Dhoni (10) and Zaheer Khan (1). Dhoni inside-edged a catch to Bradley-John Watling at forward short leg while Zaheer was bowled out.

Off-spinner Jeetan Patel (3-135) was equally impressive and along with Vettori ran through the Indian tail. Harbhajan was the last Indian wicket to fall, caught behind attempting a late cut off a Vettori delivery, prompting a tea break.

Resuming at 329 for three, the overnight Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar (40) and V.V.S Laxman (40) began cautiously and added another 54 runs without hiccups. However, their fourth-wicket 66-run stand was broken when New Zealand spinners fought back with a three-wicket burst.

Patel and Kane Williamson picked Tendulkar and Suresh Raina in quick succession to turn the heat on India. When Patel trapped Laxman leg before on the last ball before lunch, the Black Caps had taken their third wicket for a mere nine runs in the the first session of the day.

Tendulkar, who is eyeing is 50th Test century, got out to a rather soft dismissal when he returned an easy catch to Patel off his own bowling and the visitors broke into celebration.

New Zealand’s debutant seamer Hamish Bennett, who strained his groin Thursday, however, could not take the field.

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