Hyderabad: India wrapped-up a mixed day of cricket as the Kiwi scorecard read 237/4 at stumps on Day 4 of the second Test, leading by 115 runs.
Brendon McCullum was the man to watch as he slammed his sixth Test ton, second against India and third this year to cement the visitors in the second Test as the scorecard raced beyond the 200-run mark. His innings marked the best performance of the day with lustful drives and calculated shots around the wicket.
On the Indian bowling front, Suresh Raina turned out to be the man with the golden arm as he claimed in-form Jesse Ryder at a score of twenty runs. The wicket came at a crucial juncture with the daylight fading away real quick.
Raina had a beautiful delivery to get his Test wicket, drifting into middle, the ball gripped the rough and ripped away as Ryder hung his bat out at that without the slightest of idea as to how much the ball would turn and bounce. In the end he got a thin edge and Dhoni did wonderfully well to get up with the bounce and pouch an excellent catch.
Sreesanth too made his presence felt at Hyderabad as he uprooted the off stump of Ross Taylor to see the New Zealand scorecard reeling at 187/3.
Martin Guptill was the second casualty of Ojha’s spin as he was caught behind the wicket at a score of 18 runs. For the bowlers, Ojha gave India the first breakthrough as he claimed Tim McIntosh.
The opener was caught brilliantly by substitute Cheteshwar Pujara as McIntosh probably was distracted by the fact that he was on 49, went for the sweep, got a thin under edge onto the pad, before it lobbed to the left of Pujara, he stuck out his left hand and held on.
New Zealand scorecard read a comfortable 131/1 at tea-time as McCullum held fort with Guptill (who had promised to pile-up runs against Indian batsmen at the onset of the Test).
However, after the initial starts, the Kiwi batsmen could not stay put for a big one as the wicket had something to offer to wily spinners.
Slowly but surely establishing himself as a formidable Test allrounder, Turbunator Harbhajan Singh slammed his back to back Test hundred to set the tempo for the day.
Sreesanth (24) was the last Indian wicket to fall as skipper Daniel Vettori ended the proceedings after the hosts had taken a 122-run lead as the scorecard read 472 all out on the fourth day’s morning.
The Indian tail had added a twist to the tale towards the end of Day 3 with Harbhajan going berserk as the scorecard read 436/9 with the hosts taking a lead of eighty six runs against the New Zealanders.
Yesterday, the last wicket stand tilted the game India`s way. Sree and Bhajji came together when the lead was just 17 and they extended it to 86 by the time stumps were drawn. This also was the best 10th wicket stand for India against New Zealand ever. It was an absorbing day of Test match cricket with the Kiwis never letting the Indians off the hook till Bhajji took control and played some audacious strokes. The last hour saw the Kiwis looking a little flat on the field.
VVS Laxman too had played beautifully and made an attractive 74 before getting out due to a moment of lapse in concentration. Daniel Vettori had kept his reputation intact as he bowled quite cleverly and picked up 3 wickets, including that of Sachin.
The Indian outfit would be gleeful from the coming good of Virender Sehwag (96) and Gautam Gambhir (54) as they hold the opening key to India’s success in today’s cricket.
Day 4 Pitch- No dusty patches on the wicket, still hard and the faster bowlers will enjoy some good bounce and carry. Batsman can apply himself and score runs on this turf, made up of 60% red clay and 40% black clay as this helps the wicket bind together and the spinners will come into play.