Sudeshna Guha Roy/Zeecric Bureau
Ahmedabad: Defeat is on the cards on the number one ranked Test team as India also lost their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as they stood at 82/6 on the fourth day on the first Test against New Zealand, here at the Sardar Patel Stadium on Sunday.
India could not have witnessed a more pathetic start as they lost their entire top order very early in their second innings, even as they started with a lead of 28 runs.
After wrapping New Zealand innings at 459, India hoped to extend their lead of 28 runs to a bigger number. However, New Zealand pacer Chris Martin had some other plans in mind as he ripped through the entire Indian top order to leave them dismayed at 15/5.
Opener Gautam Gambhir was the first one to throw away his wicket.
Gambhir, who failed to post a big score in the first innings too, has also been featuring an average as low as in twenties in Tests this year so far. He lost out on yet another opportunity today after Martin got him caught by Gareth Hopkins in the third ball of the second innings.
The next to depart were the first innings centurions, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid. While Sehwag (1) was unfortunate and fell prey to Martin Guptill’s excellent display of fielding, and lost his wicket as a result of a run out, Dravid (1), on the other, too was dismissed by the Martin-Hopkins duo.
A few overs later, Martin struck again to pick his third wicket of the innings, Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin, till then, was the only player to have a double-digit second innings score as he scored just 12 runs before getting played-on on an inswinger by Martin.
Martin’s rampage did not stop there as he scalped the wicket of Suresh Raina for a duck, leaving the Indians struggling at 15/5.
Thereafter, Dhoni, along with VVS Laxman, tried to give some stability to India’s scorecard. But again, fate had some different plans as New Zealand sent their lethal weapon back into attack.
‘Phantom’ Martin came again and snapped the bails with much ease as Dhoni returned back to the pavilion after contributing just 22 runs.
Earlier, New Zealand lost quick wickets in the post lunch session as the visitors’ wrapped up their first innings for 459 runs on the fourth day of the first Test against India, here at the Sardar Patel Stadium on Sunday.
New Zealand resumed the play on the fourth day from their overnight score of 331/5, a figure that was achieved with the help of a smashing century by Jesse Ryder (103) on the third day.
Ryder’s century, not only helped the Kiwis to avoid the follow on but also put themselves on course for matching India’s first innings total of 487 on a Sardar Patel track which offered little assistance to the bowlers.
As the fourth day resumed, New Zealand celebrated the scintillation debut century by Kane Williamson as the 20 year old added a weight of 131-runs to his team’s score, thus, only becoming the eight New Zealander to score a hundred on debut, but also the second youngest Kiwi cricketer to with a ton-up debut match.
After building a fantabulous 194-run partnership with Ryder, Williamson built another 84-run partnership with skipper Daniel Vettori before being caught by VVS Laxman at the first slip.
As Williamson’s grand 131-run innings came to and end, the crowd at the Sardar Patel Stadium rose to give the young kid a standing ovation as both the teams went for lunch with the New Zealand scorecard reading 417/6.
With a trail of 70 runs, Vettori hoped to overtake India’s first innings total for 487 runs in the second session. However, that aim went for a toss after Suresh Raina tactfully got him caught by Indian skipper-cum-wicketkeeper MS Dhoni for 41 runs, soon after the game resumed in the post lunch session.
Vettori’s dismissal was soon followed by a couple of more departures as Gareth Hopkins and Jeetan Patel both gave up their wickets for 14 runs each. While Hopkins was caught plumb in front of the wickets by Pragyan Ojha, Patel was clean bowled by Sreesanth.
It was Zaheer Khan who did the final honours and dimissed Hamish Bennett for 4 runs, thus wrapping up the New Zealand innings for 459 runs, keeping a deficit of 28 runs.