New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Hamilton, 2nd day

Tendulkar's fifty keeps India on top

The Report by Dileep Premachandran

March 19, 2009

Text size: A | A

India 278 for 4 (Gambhir 72, Dravid 66, Tendulkar 70*) trail New Zealand 279 by 1 run
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out


Sachin Tendulkar mis-hits a pull, New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Hamilton, 2nd day, March 19, 2009
Sachin Tendulkar miscued a pull on 13 but Daniel Flynn could not catch the skier © Getty Images
Enlarge

The expected run barrage never came, with Virender Sehwag run out early in the day, but half-centuries from Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid and an unbeaten 70 from Sachin Tendulkar allowed India to establish a measure of control at Seddon Park. New Zealand were disciplined with the ball and sprightly in the field, but despite a lot of moisture in the air after overnight rain, there was no real menace from the bowlers. By the time the players went off for bad light, India were just a run behind, though there would have been some disappointment at the fact that well-set batsmen didn't go on to make bigger scores.

There was still Tendulkar though. Having taken 11 balls to get off the mark, he eased himself into rhythm slowly, but there were some sparkling strokes in the final session. There were cover-drives off front and back foot, precise cuts and deft nudges off the pads. His best shot though was a gorgeous on-drive off Chris Martin, a stroke he followed up with an impudent ramp over slips off Iain O'Brien. New Zealand were left to reflect on a missed chance when Tendulkar had made just 13 and miscued a pull off Daniel Vettori just beyond Daniel Flynn at midwicket.

That late flourish enlivened proceedings after New Zealand had established something of a tourniquet after tea. With Vettori accurate and Jesse Ryder wheeling away for five maidens with his medium pace, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman were becalmed. The scoring rate for the partnership was two an over, and there were some streaky strokes, inside egdes and a Laxman pull that just evaded O'Brien at deep square leg. When the new ball was taken, India were still 41 behind and New Zealand struck immediately, with Martin finding the edge to first slip.

Yuvraj Singh survived a few alarms, playing one superb cover-drive off the disappointing Kyle Mills, and with Tendulkar raising the tempo, the new ball didn't do the damage that New Zealand would have wished for. It had been much the same story in the morning after Sehwag's departure, though the dismissals of Gambhir and Dravid after lunch did redress the balance somewhat.

Play started 15 minutes late because of overnight rain and there was moisture around to interest the seamers. But the breakthrough New Zealand sought arrived courtesy some poor cricket from the Indians. Gambhir played Mills into the covers and set off for two. But with James Franklin making good ground and hitting the stumps direct, Sehwag was well short of his ground. He had made 24 from 21 balls and his body language betrayed his disgust as he walked off.

Gambhir took his mind off the fiasco with a neat clip through midwicket off Mills as New Zealand sought to keep the runs down and build up some pressure. It didn't happen. Dravid has been a hesitant starter in recent times, but a glance for four off Martin and a lovely cut off Mills allowed him to play himself in.

Gambhir was especially strong off his pads, walking down the pitch to work the ball through midwicket, and he also put the loose balls away with powerful cuts and late glances. Franklin induced an edge off the first ball he bowled, but didn't really generate enough pace to be a menace, and there was little threat too from O'Brien. India didn't rattle along at Sehwag pace, but they weren't snail-slow either and Vettori was rapidly running out of options by the time he brought himself on with 10 minutes to go for lunch.

The two rotated the strike and though there were passages of relative quiet, the loose ball was invariably put away. That was especially true right after lunch, with Vettori and Martin taken for several boundaries. But Martin struck just when things were looking bleak, coming round the wicket to induce the edge through to Brendon McCullum. Gambhir had made 72 from 135 balls.

Dravid defended as methodically as ever, but it wasn't all dour stuff. He cut the ball beautifully and the run-rate didn't suffer after Gambhir's departure. Another stroke past point off Mills took him to a half-century from 108 balls and when he followed it with a lovely cover-drive off O'Brien, things were looking ominous. But O'Brien had the final say, getting one to nip back a shade off the seam and hit the top of off stump.

With Tendulkar and Laxman in obdurate mood though, the bowlers couldn't press on. But by keeping things quiet, they've given themselves a glimmer of a chance, Tendulkar notwithstanding.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Dileep Premachandran

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Dileep PremachandranClose
Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
Tour Results
New Zealand v India at Wellington - Apr 3-7, 2009
Match drawn
New Zealand v India at Napier - Mar 26-30, 2009
Match drawn
New Zealand v India at Hamilton - Mar 18-21, 2009
India won by 10 wickets
New Zealand v India at Auckland - Mar 14, 2009
New Zealand won by 8 wickets (with 118 balls remaining)
New Zealand v India at Hamilton - Mar 11, 2009
India won by 84 runs (D/L method)
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days