Indians have their backs to the wall in Napier Test (Lead)

March 27th, 2009 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Jesse Ryder Napier, March 27 (IANS) New Zealand seized control of the second cricket Test against India, reducing the visitors to 79 for three, after Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum carried them to 619 for nine declared in their first innings on the second day at Mclean Park here.
Ryder’s double century (201) and McCullum’s 115 saw New Zealand amass an imposing first innings total to put pressure on Indian batsmen.

After being on the field for close to two days, the tired Indian team got off to a disastrous start on a good batting track that showed no sign of wear and tear.

Openers Virender Sehwag (34) and Gautam Gambhir (16) were dismissed cheaply and to make matters worse, nightwatchman Ishant Sharma departed for a duck. India now trail by 540 runs.

Rahul Dravid (21) and Sachin Tendulkar (0) will shoulder the responsibility Saturday of stopping the resurgent Kiwis from squaring the series.

Interestingly, all three Indian wickets fell to spin - Daniel Vettori (2-16) and Jeetan Patel (1-6).

In contrast, India’s only spinner Harbhajan Singh had just two wickets in the Kiwis’ first innings. That included one top-order batsman Ross Taylor, but by the time the Kiwi had already bailed out New Zealand with a century (151) and stitched a record 271-run fourth-wicket partnership with Ryder Thursday. Stand-in-skipper Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh bowled 24 overs of spin between them but both went wicketless.

Both Sehwag and Gambhir would be ruing the way they threw away their wickets.

Sehwag, trying to slog sweep Vettori from outside the off-stump, gave a faint edge to McCullum behind the stumps.

Gambhir charged down the track and was beaten by a flighted Patel delivery to lob a simple catch to Vettori at mid-off.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand’s batsmen frustrated the Indian attack on resuming at the overnight total of 351 for four.

Ryder became the 11th New Zealand batsman to hit a double century and the first since Stephen Fleming’s 262 against South Africa at Cape Town three years ago.

The stocky batsman dragged a Zaheer Khan (3-129) delivery onto his stumps immediately after completing his double century after lunch. But by then he had ensured a massive total for New Zealand, having added 121 runs with James Franklin (52) for the fifth wicket and 62 runs with McCullum for the sixth.

Ryder, seen essentially as a pinch-hitting, bits-and-pieces One-Day player, showed enormous concentration by batting for eight hours to prove his temperament. He showed his defence is as tight as his free-flowing strokes are effective.

Ryder, who scored his maiden hundred in the first Test in Hamilton, cracked 24 fours and a six in his 328-ball knock, driving on the off-side with authority.

The only way he could have been out was being run out and he was lucky to get away twice. Once when he backed up too much in a bid to help Taylor get his 100 and then this morning Franklin almost got him out when he was on 147.

Ryder’s dismissal brought no respite to the tired Indians as McCullum hit an attacking century and added 128 runs with skipper Daniel Vettori (55).

New Zealand scored at a fast clip in the second session (144 runs in 33 overs) with hard hitting McCullum scoring freely to reach his third Test century in just 131 balls. His knock included 13 fours.

McCullum hit Ishant straight to the hands of Tendulkar at deep point, while Harbhajan removed Jeetan Patel as New Zealand declared their second innings.

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