Ryder batted with a stiff calf muscle: McCullum

Ahmedabad: Jesse Ryder, who scored a defiant century against India and also got involved in a record 194-run partnership with debutant Kane Williamson, batted with a runner for the better part of his knock due to a stiff calf muscle, New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum said here on Saturday.

“It was due to the stiffening of his calf muscle,” said McCullum, who made a 65, after the third day’s play in the first Test here.

26-year-old Ryder scored 103 in 205 balls in just over five hours’ stay at the crease, hitting 10 fours and a six off Harbhajan Singh in the process.

McCullum, who has given up his wicket-keeping duties in Tests to colleague Gareth Hopkins, saw a bright future for the Ryder and Kane Williamson, who remained unbeaten on 87.

“I watched some of the best batting we’ve seen from a New Zealand No.5 and No.6 for a long-long time. I don’t think anyone could have expected those guys to play as well as they did,” said the 29-year-old Dunedin-born hard-hitting batsman.

“We have high expectations of each member of this team, but Jesse (Ryder) hasn’t played a Test for a while and Kane (Williamson) was playing his first. To put on that size partnership against quality bowlers has put us in a position where we’re now back in the match,” he said.

Left-handed Ryder slammed his third century in his 12th Test and incidentally all his three-figure efforts have come against India. He scored 102 and 201 during India’s tour of New Zealand in March 2009.

Baby of the team Williamson remained unbeaten on 87 in a team total of 331 for five that has left the Kiwis 156 runs adrift of the India’s first innings tally of 487.

“He’s 20 years of age. Guys don’t tend to develop in New Zealand till they’re much older than that. He’s an incredible talent. We saw that during his one-day hundred in Bangladesh a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve seen it here against a very good Indian bowling line-up,” McCullum said.

“He has ability to negotiate tough periods and fight his way through. He has a real calm presence at the crease and I hope he goes on tomorrow to what would be a memorable Test hundred,” he elaborated.

McCullum, who has the credit of hitting the first-ever century in the IPL, was optimistic that his side can still make a match of it.

“There’s still two days to go in the Test and we’ve all seen that a lot can happen in Indian conditions in that time on a wearing wicket. We have five wickets tomorrow and we have to bat as deep as we can, try and get as close as we can to the Indian total. Hopefully go past it and then, control what we can with the ball. But it’s not going to be easy,” he stated.

“Our bowling attack is a little bit light with Hamish (Bennett) down (with a groin strain) and Jesse with a bit of a tight calf as well. But on Saturday, we’ve fought our way back and shown strength of character,” he explained.

Pleased with his own effort, McCullum- who cracked 11 fours in his 122-ball essay before being stumped off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, said it was a new role for him after having played over half a century of Tests.

“I’m going through a challenge at the moment, of becoming a Test opening batsman. It’s quite different from my previous 50 Tests. I enjoyed the role that I had to play in this game. I was happy to get a score and bat some overs, take some shine off the ball.”

“But I was also bitterly disappointed to get out after doing the hard work. Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity in the second innings to make a significant impact,” McCullum said.


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