Tenacious India salvage draw
‘NZ bowling lacked firepower’
Batsmen spared acting skipper
SA continue winning run against Aussies
KKR to announce captain in South Africa
Tenacious India salvage draw
Napier, March 30
Smarting from the ignominy of a follow on and facing the onerous task of saving the match, Gautam Gambhir (137) showed tremendous application to stay put in the crease for nearly 11 hours, forging crucial partnerships with Rahul Dravid (62), Sachin Tendulkar (64) and VVS Laxman (124 not out) in the process.
Resuming on 252 for two, India were 476 for four when play was called off.
Laxman and Yuvraj Singh (54) were unseparated in the end with the elegant Hyderabadi right-hander completing his 14th Test century in an effortless manner.
New Zealand, after enforcing the follow on, had themselves to blame for not being able to force a victory as bowling lacked the penetration to trouble the Indian batsmen.
Gambhir was the cog around which the Indian innings purred without a stutter. The left-hander, who hit his fifth Test hundred, added 133 runs with Dravid for the second wicket, 97 with Tendulkar for the third and 96 with Laxman for the fourth to drive the Kiwis to despair.
The 27-year-old, who has been in the thick of runs since making a comeback in 2007, lasted 642 enervating minutes at the crease, slowly but assuredly thinning New Zealand's hopes of a series levelling victory.
Laxman, determined and elegant as ever, notched his 14th Test hundred while posting 120 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh, who redeemed his sagging confidence with a dominating 54 not out.
Interestingly, 100 of Laxman's unbeaten 124 came through boundaries as the wristy Hyderabadi made the Kiwis pay for bowling into his pads and rib-cage. He was particularly severe on a short-ball happy Iain O'Brien and man of the match Jesse Ryder.
India suffered an early setback when Tendulkar was caught behind by Brendon McCullum off Chris Martin in the fifth over of the day. Beginning the final day's proceedings with a majestic punch through covers off the back foot to point, Tendulkar drove distantly at Martin to put jitters in the Indian camp.
But Gambhir, who fell 25 minutes before to Jeetan Patel, and Laxman virtually shut the door to victory on the Kiwis with their resolute approach.
The Kiwis, frustrated after spending 273.5 overs on the field, including 93.5 in the first innings, could take credit for keeping the pressure on the Indians, even until tea. Their bowlers were sore, their fieldsmen were leaden-footed, yet they single-mindedly pursued victory, which though remained elusive. — PTI
New Zealand (1st innings): dec for 9: 619
India (1st innings): 305
India ((2nd innings): (overnight 252-2)
Gambhir lbw b Patel 137
Sehwag lbw b Patel 22
Dravid c How b Vettori 62
Tendulkar c McCullum b Martin 64
Laxman not out 124
Yuvraj not out 54
Extras (b-9 lb-1 nb-3): 13
Total (for four wickets, 180 overs): 476
Fall of wickets: 1-30 2-163 3-260 4-356
Bowling: Martin 30-8-86-1 (nb-1), O'Brien 32-9-94-0 (nb-1), Franklin 21-5-48-0, Patel 45-10-120-2, Ryder 11-5-38-0, Vettori 38-13-76-1 (nb-1) Taylor 2-1-4-0 How 1-1-0-0
Man of the match: Jesse Ryder
3rd Test: Wellington (April 3-7). — Reuters
Napier, March 30
Richardson said Gambhir's century in India's second innings has reminded many about the his own batting but the Kiwi admitted that the Indian opener is a far better batsman than what he was.
''A lot of people have said Gautam Gambhir's innings was like how I would have played. I probably can't disagree with that; my only disagreement would be that he is a far better player that I ever was — he is a wonderful player,'' Richardson said.
He said Gambhir has adapted to the international cricket in a very brief period and what was the most impressive about the pugnacious left-hander was how he curbed his naturally aggressive stroke play for the sake of the team.
''The thing that really impressed me was that here is a guy who likes to attack, generally. He likes to dominate, he plays some good Twenty20 cricket, plays good one-day cricket and also shows that when the situation requires he could also change his game and play this very long, drawn-out innings,'' he wrote in column for 'cricinfo'.
''He is obviously a very determined guy and you see that in his reactions out on the park. I think he knew that an irresponsible shot to get out would not be tolerated in that situation, he took that responsibility on his shoulders and he played it ball by ball,'' he added.
The former left-handed opener also pointed out that the New Zealand did everything that it could to dismiss the Indians in the second innings but the home team hardly had any firepower in the bowling attack to test the sub-continent giants.
''I don't think Daniel Vettori could have done anything differently; he didn't have the firepower available to him.
''You can look at the way New Zealand went about trying to bowl India out; I think in the first innings it was a wonderful display and it was a team unit.
''I think in the second innings, the quality of the Indian batting and the lack of penetration that they have had in their bowling attack for some time now caught up with them.
''To bowl India out twice, on that wicket out there, was always going to be a difficult task and I think it has highlighted the inefficiencies or the deficiencies of that New Zealand attack and that is a lack of penetration,'' he opined. — UNI
Having batted like run millionaires in the first innings, the Indian batsmen did exactly the opposite and played thriftily as is expected in tough financial times like the present. They thus saved the Test match with their heads held high and also spared the acting skipper Virender Sehwag the blushes. The skipper who is a canny cricketer will have realised especially having seen Gautam Gambhir curb his natural attacking instincts that in Test cricket there is less than the fifth gear to bat in.
Test cricket being a five-day game a batsman can up the tempo gradually and not go hammer and tongs from the first ball. By doing so Sehwag is letting himself down for he has shown on numerous occasions that he can buckle down and play the ball on its merits, the Adelaide century being a prime example and with just one more Test left he also has just one chance to get to the elusive Test century in New Zealand.
All the batsmen played their part. Dravid was immovable as always and his solidity rubbed-off on Gambhir who showed a different face as he too took his time and ensured that India were not in any danger. It was as if he was making up for his rush of blood in the first innings. It was an innings to warm the cockles of the heart of an old timer and he has taken another step towards greatness with this calm composed patient innings.
Tendulkar’s disappointment at getting out was obvious for he knew that he had a century and more for the taking. The pitch was still good and the Kiwi bowling pedestrian at best. What he missed out was scored by the elegant VVS Laxman.
When he came in to bat there was a sniff of a chance for New Zealand and if he had fallen soon, then Yuvraj who was on a pair would have had to come in to bat under pressure but situations like these bring the best in Laxman and the fluency that he played with was tremendously enjoyable.
India is fortunate that it has a talent like Yuvraj Singh. There is no better and cleaner hitter of a cricket ball than this left-hander but somehow he seldom gets the credit and is invariably criticised when he fails. In a way that is a tribute to his ability for he is expected to score every time he goes in to bat and that even Bradman could not do. His quickfire knock stopped any ideas the Kiwis may have had of a sudden turnaround and has given India the chance to break a jinx and win a series there after 40 years.
When the going got tough the tough indeed got going but they are really so far superior to the Kiwis that they should never get in that situation again. — PMG
Centurion, SA, March 30
Chasing 157 for victory on Sunday, Australia were derailed by off-spinner Johan Botha, who claimed two for 16 in four overs as the visitors crashed to 103 for five after 15 overs having been 63 for two at the halfway mark.
Peterson b Hopes 34
Gibbs b Bracken 20
de Villiers c White b Laughlin 0
Duminy b Harwood 23
Merwe c Haddin b Harwood 48
A. Morkel not out 14
Boucher not out 9
Extras (b-1 lb-2 w-4 nb-1): 8
Total (five wickets; 20 overs): 156
Fall of wickets: 1-22 2-24 3-71 4-96 5-133
Bowling: N. Bracken 4-0-44-1 (1-nb, 2-w), S. Harwood 4-0-21-2, B Laughlin 4-0-32-1 (1-w), JR Hopes 4-0-26-1, DJ Hussey 3-0-24-0, C. White 1-0-6-0 (1-w)
Clarke b Botha 27
Warner b Morkel 20
Ponting c Boucher b Abdulla 1
D. Hussey c Gibbs b Merwe 27
Ferguson run out 0
White c Duminy b Botha 23
Haddin not out 16
Hopes c Morkel b Louw 18
Bracken c de Villiers b Louw 0
Harwood not out 0
Extras (lb-1, w-5, nb-1): 7
Total (eight wickets; 20 overs): 139
FoW: 1-37 2-38 3-63 4-63 5-101 6-106 7-131 8-138 Bowling: J. Louw 4-0-36-2 (1-nb, 2-w), Y. Abdulla 3-0-16-1 (2-w), A. Morkel 3-0-24-1 (1-w), R. van der Merwe 4-0-30-1, J. Botha 4-0-16-2, R. Peterson 2-0-16-0 — Reuters
KKR to announce captain in South Africa
Kolkata, March 30 After the conclusion of the six-day training camp in the Eden Gardens here, (KKR) Director of Cricket Operations John Buchanan refused to announce the squad and the captains stating that they want to keep all options open before they begin their IPL campaign in South Africa from April 18. Interestingly, the development has further fuelled speculation that the Knight Riders think tank was yet to sort out their "differences" with Ganguly. In fact, there is a confusion over the number of players the Knight Riders will be taking to South Africa. While Buchanan told media that it would be a 24-member squad, KKR chief executive officer Joy Bhattacharya said the whole squad of 29, including late inclusion Sanjay Bangar, who played for Deccan Chargers last season, might be selected. "I don't want to disclose the names of the players who would be going to South Africa now as we want to keep all options open. We might take the whole squad which took part in the conditioning camp to South Africa. Nothing has been finalaised right now. The final team for KKR would be announced in South Africa," said Bhattacharya.
Kolkata, March 30
After the conclusion of the six-day training camp in the Eden Gardens here, (KKR) Director of Cricket Operations John Buchanan refused to announce the squad and the captains stating that they want to keep all options open before they begin their IPL campaign in South Africa from April 18.
Interestingly, the development has further fuelled speculation that the Knight Riders think tank was yet to sort out their "differences" with Ganguly.
In fact, there is a confusion over the number of players the Knight Riders will be taking to South Africa. While Buchanan told media that it would be a 24-member squad, KKR chief executive officer Joy Bhattacharya said the whole squad of 29, including late inclusion Sanjay Bangar, who played for Deccan Chargers last season, might be selected.
"I don't want to disclose the names of the players who would be going to South Africa now as we want to keep all options open. We might take the whole squad which took part in the conditioning camp to South Africa. Nothing has been finalaised right now. The final team for KKR would be announced in South Africa," said Bhattacharya. — PTI
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