Jesse Ryder stars on return
Jesse Ryder, playing his first Test in 14 months, batted with the assurance of gnarled pros to help New Zealand clamber out of trouble to a position where they have an outside chance of a first-innings lead after the third day in Ahmedabad. The prospect of New Zealand being asked to bat again had loomed large at lunch, after they lost both Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor in the space of six runs when they were less than halfway to the follow-on mark until Ryder and Williamson intervened.
They put on 194 - New Zealand's second-highest stand for the fifth wicket - as India's bowlers toiled for more than two sessions without success. It was only in the final over of the day that India broke the stand. Two deliveries after Ryder brought up his third Test century - all of which have been against India - with a carve through cover, Sreesanth got one to nip past Ryder's bat and into the pad. By then, New Zealand had belied expectations that they would be rolled over by the world's No. 1 side.
Ryder started to be more enterprising once Sreesanth and the part-time spinners - Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina - were brought on. Sreesanth nearly got the breakthrough when Ryder wafted at a wide delivery on 11, only for Rahul Dravid to fluff a shoulder-high chance at a wide first slip.
After that, Ryder dished out plenty of boundaries, using his feet and punching Raina past mid-on, and pulling Sreesanth to midwicket. Ryder called for a runner before tea, as he was struggling with cramps, but even that didn't hamper his footwork against spin. One of the highlights of his innings was when he sashayed down the track to loft Harbhajan over long-on for six.
His Test average has now leapt over 50, and during his innings he became the third fastest New Zealand batsman to reach 1000 runs.