India in danger of losing Test as Martin strikes (Roundup)

November 7th, 2010 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Chris Martin Ahmedabad, Nov 7 (IANS) A five-wicket haul by Chris Martin reduced India to a precarious 82 for six in their second innings and gave New Zealand a realistic chance of pulling off an improbable victory at the end of the fourth day’s play in the first cricket Test here Sunday.

India, who dominated the first two days of the Test, suffered a shocking batting collapse after bowling out New Zealand for 459 in first innings to take a slender 28-run lead.

Martin (5-25), the most experienced of the New Zealand attack, was the chief destroyer and swung the fortunes in New Zealand’s favour. Interesting, the Black Caps have not won a Test in India since John Wright led them to a 136-run victory in Mumbai 22 years ago.

India once again will be looking up to V.V.S. Laxman who was batting at 34 with Harbhajan Singh (12 batting) for company at the stumps, the hosts leading by 110 runs.

Martin was on fire right from the start, dismissing opener Gautam Gambhir for a duck off the third ball of the innings. Substitute fielder Martin Guptill made a brilliant diving save at the mid-off and threw accurately to send danger man Virender Sehwag back, before Martin struck again. Rahul Dravid (1) got a faint edge and Hopkins made no mistake in gobbling it, leaving India were tottering at three wickets down for two runs at tea.

The presence of Sachin Tendulkar (12) and V.V.S. at the middle inspired hope. It, however, turned out to be short-lived as Tendulkar dragged a Martin delivery on to the stumps soon after lunch.

Raina, who followed next, faced three deliveries before nicking a drive to Ross Taylor at the slips for a duck, and India were reeling at 15 for five.

Laxman and Dhoni (22) set about resurrecting the Indian innings and added 50 runs for the sixth wicket. But Martin coming for his second spell, struck yet again as Dhoni trying to defend a rising delivery chopped it into the stumps.

Earlier, Kane Williamson, sparkled in the morning session to become the youngest of the eight Black Caps to stroke a century on debut.

The 20-year-old was dismissed for 131 (299b, 10×4) when he edged Pragyan Ojha (4-107) to Laxman at the first slip in the last over before lunch, but by that time the visitors had crossed the 400-run mark.

Resuming at 331 for five in the morning, Williamson and Vettori (41) had little difficulty in negotiating the Indian bowlers, who once again failed to get any purchase from the slow Motera wicket.

Williamson, who began the day on 87, hooked Zaheer’s short delivery to move to 97 and two balls later he flicked his ninth boundary to reach his hundred, grinning and raising his bat to his teammates. His century came in 244 balls in 24 minutes into the morning session. Williamson and Vettori added 86 runs for the sixth wicket.

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