Hyderabad: The second Test match between India and New Zealand ended in a draw after both captains agreed that the tie could not garner any other result. With the series tied 0-0 after two matches, all would be decided in the final rubber in Nagpur on November 20.
India had started the run-chase with the feisty opening duo of Delhi lads Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Sehwag in his typical style, spanked fours all over the park and raced to his 25th Test fifty in lesser balls.
New Zealand scoreboard had read 448/8 at tea time and the visitors subsequently declared their innings with a target of 327 runs and just a session to go for the home team.
In a Test where Harbhajan (111*, 5 wickets), Gautam Gambhir (54, 14*), Brendon McCullum (225), Tim McIntosh (102, 49), Virender Sehwag (96 and 54*) and Martin Guptill (85) had a good run, the real credit would go to the pitch that offered most to the batsmen while giving a bit of a chance to pacers only in the initial one hour of the day.
From the time when Daniel Vettori won the toss and decided to make India play the last innings and perhaps crumble under pressure to the time when Harbhajan’s innings almost took the game away from them to the final double centurion song of McCullum, the balance of either sides tilted to and fro.McCullum was the shining light of the final day as he came up with a match saving maiden double century to salvage pride for New Zealand, exorcising the ghosts of Bangladesh defeat. He was finally claimed by speedster Sreesanth for a score of 225 runs.
His classic milestone came with his signature shot fondly called ‘Mc-scoop’ by locals and with the Herculean effort, things would go to the wire with the series decider in Nagpur.
As a consolation for the bowlers, Suresh Raina claimed his second wicket of the innings in the form of Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori. With Harbhajan scoring his century, it was only right for a batsman like Raina to pick more wickets.
Harbhajan had the lone breakthrough of the morning as he had claimed Kane Williamson for a score of 69 runs.
However, by the time, New Zealand had ensured that they would be out of the danger zone as the batsmen went in at lunch with the scoreboard reading 339/4 (lead 217 runs).
McCullum started the final day’s proceedings with rookie Williamson trying to pass the first session and averting a faint chance of loss.
The effort soon turned into a positive for the New Zealanders as the duo whizzed the total past the 300-run mark and with it, the lead neared the 200 bracket. Williamson hit his fifty in quick time while McCullum also went past 150 runs with some classic drives to the fence.The penultimate day’s play had ended with New Zealand reading 237/4 (lead-115) as McCullum slammed his sixth Test ton, second against India and third this year to cement the visitors after the morning had belonged to Turbunator Harbhajan Singh. The unorthodox bat had slammed his back to back Test hundred to set the tempo for the day.
Harbhajan is the only No. 8 batter in the history of the game to make back to back Test tons in consecutive games.
First Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 23:53