New Zealand in command of Napier Test


Napier : New Zealand amassed 619 runs through Jesse Ryder’s maiden double ton and Brendon McCullum’s century before knocking down three Indian wickets to take control of the second cricket Test at McLean Park here Friday.

Support TwoCircles

Ryder (201) became the third New Zealand batsman to score a double century against India while McCullum (115) raced to his third Test century as the hosts declared their first innings at 619 for nine.

After being on the field for close to two days, the tired Indian team got off to a disastrous start, ending the second day at 79 for three on a good batting track.

They are 540 runs in arrears and need 340 runs more to avert the follow-on.

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

India will bank on the experience of Rahul Dravid (21) and Sachin Tendulkar (0) to bail them out of trouble and stop the resurgent Kiwis from squaring the series.

“We are hopeful of getting our act together tomorrow. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are batting and they have the ability to fight back and get us back into the Test match,” said Zaheer Khan, who took three for 129.

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 that time Taylor 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, 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. He added 121 runs with James Franklin (52) for the fifth wicket and 62 runs with McCullum for the sixth.

“I was just going ball by ball,” Ryder said.

“I just went out and stuck to my gameplan and it’s worked for me and I came off with a double. I can’t ask for anything more at this stage of my career.”

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). McCullum scoring freely to reach his third Test century in just 131 balls. His knock included 13 fours.

“No disrespect to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (his previous centuries), to get one against a top side like India means a lot.”