India 79/3 at stumps, trail by 540 runs

In reply to New Zealand's mammoth total of 619, India scored 79 and lost 3 wickets - Sehwag (34), Gambhir (16) and Ishant (0) on Day 2 of the 2nd Test.

updated: March 27, 2009 17:30 IST
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New Delhi:

In reply to New Zealand's mammoth total of 619, India scored 79 and lost 3 wickets - Sehwag (34), Gambhir (16) and Ishant (0) by the end of Day 2 of the 2nd Test. Sachin Tendulkar (0*) and Rahul Dravid (21*) would open Day 3 and try to revive the early loss.

India's innings were initiated by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir when almost two hours of play were left for the day. Both the batsmen were cautious in the beginning. Sehwag looked solid and played his natural aggressive game but failed to survive Vettori's spin and got out early on 34.

India's star batsman Rahul Dravid then joined Gambhir struggling on 10. The Delhi batsman was caught by Vettori off Patel when he tried to play a shot in the air and was beaten by the flight. He scored just 16 runs.

Ishant Sharma was sent up the order as the night watchman to tame the New Zealand bowlers for the last few overs but he too could not sustain the Kiwi spin and got out for a duck. He was caught plumb by Vettori and turned to be his second victim. India then had to send Tendulkar to partner Dravid.

Earlier, riding on three splendid performances by Taylor (151), Ryder (201) and McCullum (115), New Zealand piled up 619/9 and declared the innings.

With an overnight total of 351/4, Jesse Ryder and James Franklin resumed batting on Day 2.

Ryder looked confident to set up a huge total against the visitors and Franklin supported him well at the other end. Guarding his wicket since Day 1, the sticky batsman reached 150 in the 97th over of the match.

Franklin kept the momentum going at the other end to hit his 2nd Test fifty of his career and the hosts crossed 400-run mark. On the other hand, Ryder was 30 runs short of his first double century. Both the batsmen shared a partnership of 100 runs on 210 balls.

Soon after competing his half-century, Franklin (52) gifted his wickets to India when he fell short of his crease and Harbhajan caught him napping between the wickets. Brendon McCullum replaced him.

Ryder held the fort and Kiwis went into lunch break with 448 at the loss of five wickets. New Zealand saw 97 runs being added at the cost of one wicket in the first session.

After the halt, Ryder's (201) resilience proved a hard nut to crack by the Indians and he was focussed enough to raise his first double hundred. He did it in style by hitting the ball for a boundary. But the celebrations didn't last long and the mighty batsman gave away his wicket to Zaheer when he was clean bowled by the spearhead pacer. Skipper Daniel Vettori entered next.

McCullum then took the charge and fired all cylinders to bring up a swift 60-ball fifty. He also made NZ cross 500-run mark. He added on to the visitors' woes by converting his fifty into three-digit figure. This was his 3rd Test hundred that came at the stroke of tea and New Zealand total was pumped up to 592/6.

Daniel Vettori, playing on 37, got another life when was dropped by Ishant Sharma at mid-off but by the end of New Zealand innings, India pacer scalped him after he completed his half-century. His second wicket came in the form of Brendon McCullum (115) whose catch was pouched by Tendulkar.

Tailenders Jeetan Patel and Ian O'Brien were at the crease when the hosts had already crossed 600-run mark. Ace spinner Harbhajan Singh removed the prior on one run and New Zealand declared the innings on 619/9.

On Day 1, two brilliant centuries by Taylor (151) and Ryder (137*) pushed New Zealand's score to 351 at the loss of four wickets.

A surprise change in Indian line-up was seen with Virender Sehwag replacing MS Dhoni as the leader. Dhoni sat out due to his back pain. Dinesh Karthik came in as the wicket-keeper.

In contrast to India's three-seamer, one-spinner combination, New Zealand have packed their attack with two spinners and three seamers for the contest at the McLean Park.

New Zealand team:

TG McIntosh, BB McCullum, MJ Guptill, LRPL Taylor, JM How, JEC Franklin, JD Ryder, DL Vettori, IE O'Brien, CS Martin, JS Patel

India team:

G Gambhir, V Sehwag, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, KD Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, I Sharma, MM Patel