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Tendulkar’s Double-Strike Puts India On Top

By on April 7, 2009

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Sachin Tendulkar struck twice just before the end of the first session to reduce New Zealand to 254 for seven at lunch.

India started the fifth and the final day of the third Test match, beaming with confidence of finishing it off early.

While the bowlers were looking to take quick wickets, the overnight batsmen — Ross Taylor and James Franklin played cautious and patient knocks each, to lead the Kiwi resistance, even as Indian bowlers hunt for wickets.

Taylor completed his century and in the able company of Franklin continued to battle it out in the middle.
It was Harbhajan Singh who managed to break the resistance by taking the prized wicket of Taylor for a well-made 107.

Once the partnership was broken, Sachin Tendulkar took the centre-stage and struck twice to get rid of Brendon McCullum and James Franklin in his consecutive overs.

At stumps on day four, India were within touching distance of an emphatic victory in the third and the final Test against New Zealand.

Having set the Black Caps a mammoth target of 617 runs to chase down, the visitors had restricted them to 167 for four when bad light ended play early on the fourth day at the Basin Reserve.

It left New Zealand needing a further 450 runs to win with Ross Taylor (69) and James Franklin (26) to resume on the final day.

Rain expected

However, with rain expected on Tuesday, India may be forced to settle for a 1-0 series win – their first Test series triumph on New Zealand soil since 1968 – after they won the Hamilton Test by 10 wickets and drew the match in Napier.

Zaheer Khan, who took five for 65 in the first innings, and Harbhajan Singh got two wickets apiece, while Rahul Dravid went past Mark Waugh’s record of 181 catches in Tests when he took a low catch at third slip to combine with Khan for Tim McIntosh’s wicket before lunch.

India batted for just over an hour at the start of the day to push their lead beyond the 600-run mark as captain MS Dhoni finished with an unbeaten 56 and Khan ended 18 not out.

The visitors added 85 runs to their overnight score of 349 for five but lost the wickets of Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan in the process.

Yuvraj provided most of the entertainment as he raced from his overnight score of 15 to 40, with Iain O’Brien going for three consecutive fours and a six in one over, before edging a Chris Martin delivery to Ross Taylor in the slips.

Harbhajan fell for no score – also to Martin – and India were 397 for seven.

It’s all about numbers!

Dhoni brought up his half-century with a single off James Franklin and a couple of overs later he declared the innings closed.

Khan bowled a 15-over spell that was only broken by the lunch interval and claimed his first wicket late in the morning session when McIntosh (four) edged to Dravid.

The Black Caps were 37 for one at the break which quickly became 54 for two when Daniel Flynn (10) edged onto his thigh then the stumps to give Khan his second scalp.

Taylor had a lucky escape on nine when he was given out, caught by Gautam Gambhir off Harbhajan, by umpire Simon Taufel.

But after consultation with Daryl Harper the catch was referred to third umpire Tony Hill and the right-hander was recalled as there was too much doubt as to whether or not the ball had touched the ground.

Taylor made the most of the opportunity and went on to score his fifth half-century and put on an important 83-run partnership with Franklin.

Harbhajan took the other two wickets in quick succession, Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder departing within three balls. Guptill was dismissed one run shy of his maiden Test half-century but improved on his previous highest Test score of 48.

Ryder went for nought, edging to Dravid to give the Indian veteran his 183rd catch.

No further wickets fell in the session and by tea Taylor and Franklin had taken the hosts to 136 for four.

Taylor took a couple of overs to reach his half-century once play resumed and in the hour of play available following the interval added a further 14 runs to his score.

Franklin survived a leg before shout off the part-time spin of Virender Sehwag on 23 shortly before the close.
Khan ended the day with two for 50 off 15 overs and Harbhajan two for 36 off 17. Ishant Sharma had mixed day going for 33 runs off six overs.

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