Laxman, Harbhajan steer India to near safety (Lunch report)

November 8th, 2010 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Ahmedabad, Nov 8 (IANS) V.V.S. Laxman and Harbhajan Singh stroked unbeaten half-centuries to steer India to near safety at 164 for six at lunch in their second innings of the first cricket Test against New Zealand here Monday.

India, thanks to Chris Martin’s five wicket-haul on the fourth day, were at one point fighting to save the Test at 82 for six. They managed to arrest further rot in the morning and passed the first session without losing any wicket.

At the luncheon break, Laxman was batting 65 and Harbhajan 60 with India leading by 192 runs and a draw looking a possibility. Interestingly, no team has ever won in Ahmedabad, chasing the rivals’ total.

Martin, who took 5-25 to swing the match in New Zealand’s favour Sunday, couldn’t reproduce his magic. Injuries to debutant seamer Hamish Bennett and Jesse Ryder didn’t help the visitors either with Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum filling in their places.

India were once again looking up to “saviour” Laxman who in the past has batted his way to win and save matches for the hosts and he didn’t disappoint.

He held one end, batting with poise and patiently building his innings. In contrast, Harbhajan repeatedly flirted with danger and was lucky to survive a run out chance in the third over of the day when a throw by Daniel Vettori missed the stumps.

It took Laxman 154 deliveries to bring up his 50 with four boundaries. Harbhajan’s 50 came off 78 balls with five fours and a six, his second fifty of the Test.

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.

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