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India vs New Zealand 1st Test, Day 5: Harbhajan, Laxman Star In Drawn First Test

By on November 8, 2010

India 487(Sehwag 173, Dravid 104, Harbhajan 69, Vettori 4-118) and 266 (Harbhajan 115, Laxman 91, Martin 5-63) drew with New Zealand 459 (Williamson 131, Ryder 103, McCullum 65, Taylor 56, Ojha 4-107) and 22 for 1…

Tailender Harbhajan Singh smashed his maiden century and Venkatsai Laxman made a fine 91 as the first Test between India and New Zealand ended in a draw on Monday. Harbhajan hit three sixes and 11 fours in his 115-run knock and shared a 163-run stand for the seventh wicket with Laxman to rescue the Indians from a precarious 65-6.

Their efforts took India to 266 all out in their second innings, leaving New Zealand with an improbable target of 295 off 24 overs. The Kiwis were 22-1 when the rival captains decided to end the match an hour before the scheduled close at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The top-ranked Indians were indebted to Laxman and Harbhajan, who saved their blushes against a side placed a lowly eighth in the world cricket order.

“It was fantastic to get my hundred finally,” said Harbhajan, named man of the match. “A big thanks to Laxman, without whom I could not have scored this. Laxman was brilliant at the other end. At one stage, when we were five down for 15 runs, we were out of the game. So, we are satisfied that we were able to save this match.”

Laxman, 36, showed remarkable poise during his stay at the wicket of nearly six hours, hitting nine fours in his 253-ball knock. The veteran batsman, India’s saviour in many a Test match, was adjudged leg before wicket by Australian umpire Steve Davis but TV replays showed the ball from Daniel Vettori had deflected off the bat.

Harbhajan, playing his 88th Test, was nearly denied his ton by Chris Martin, but the fast bowler failed to latch on to a sharp chance off his own bowling when the batsman was on 93. He reached the 100-run mark in style, dancing down the track to loft Vettori over long-off for a huge six.

Harbhajan’s remarkable innings came to an end when he top-edged a full-toss from part-timer Ross Taylor, who claimed his first Test wicket. Taylor, bowling in a Test for only the third time, claimed his second wicket when he had Shanthakumaran Sreesanth caught behind in his next over to bring an end to India’s innings shortly after tea.

“I am proud how the guys stepped up at times when we needed them,” said Vettori. “Jesse (Ryder) and Kane (Williamson) with the bat, and Chris Martin with the ball gave us a small chance of victory. Unfortunately it was always going to be difficult with the injures. It’s important we continue from this performance, we can’t afford to rest on whatever laurels we have from here.”

Harbhajan and Laxman denied a depleted New Zealand attack any success in the morning session after Martin ripped through the Indian top-order Sunday with his ninth five-wicket haul in Tests.

Laxman, whose unbeaten 73 helped India defeat Australia in the Mohali Test last month, swept off-spinner Jeetan Patel for a four to complete his 47th half-century.

The Kiwis, laid low by injuries to pacemen Hamish Bennett and Jesse Ryder, had made 459 in their first knock in reply to India’s 487. The second Test will be played in Hyderabad from November 12-16 and the third in Nagpur from November 20-24.

Source: Yahoo News

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