Nagpur: New Zealand somehow survived a hard day of cricket where the Indian squad was on cue after a rickety start as the scorecard read 24/1 at stumps on Day 3.
Harbhajan Singh spun some magic in the final overs of the third day and claimed in-form Tim McIntosh for a paltry score of 8 runs. With the first wicket gone, the visitors would certainly be feeling some pressure going into bat on the penultimate day with a massive lead (349 more runs) to catch up.
India declared at 566/8 and gave a lead of 374 runs for the visitors.
Rahul Dravid was the victim of bad luck as he got out at 191 runs to a Kane Williamson delivery. He tried to go over the fence to a flighted delivery but did not connect for the maximum, getting caught by Martin Guptill.
It was sheer heartbreak for MS Dhoni too as he was caught and bowled by Vettori at a score of 98 runs and the tantalizing ton could not materialize due to a fraction of a second that saw him lose his concentration.
The pair of Indian skipper Dhoni and Rahul Dravid had kept Kiwi hunters at bay after a minor hiccup in their target setting proceedings in the final Test. Their effort took the Indian total past the 500-run mark and extended the lead beyond 300 runs.
‘The Wall’ had slammed his 31st Test century and his characteristic gritty innings once again averted a possible collapse as early as the third day’s morning.
Prior to this, things had gotten worse from bad in the initial phase as the rest of the middle-order cracked like a biscuit in front of a disciplined New Zealand attack that used the early breeze to this maximum.
Right at the start of the third day of the final Test against New Zealand, overnight half centurion Sachin Tendulkar got out at 61 and his wicket was quickly followed up by VVS Laxman’s fall at a paltry 12. Suresh Raina too misjudged the conditions and lobbed an easy won to give Daniel Vettori his first scalp of the day.
Tendulkar had poked at a back of a length delivery from Andy McKay who claimed his first ever international Test wicket (he would have something to remember with the Master as his first victim).