India 252/2 at stumps, trail by 62 runs

With solid batting performances by Gambhir (102*), Dravid (62) and Tendulkar (58*), India fought back with a score of 252/2 in their 2nd innings on Day 4.

updated: March 30, 2009 18:11 IST
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New Delhi:

With solid batting performances by Gambhir (102*), Dravid (62) and Tendulkar (58*), India fought back with a score of 252/2 in their 2nd innings on Day 4 of the 2nd Test against the Kiwis at Napier. The tourists trail by 62 runs. Gambhir and Tendulkar will open the fifth and last day for their side.

In the morning, with their overnight 2nd innings total of 47/1, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid resumed batting. They looked anxious to save the Test match and to some extent they were successful in their efforts of not losing wickets early. Both the players stuck to the crease and played almost all shots in the books to partner each other well.

Gambhir looked rock solid right from the beginning and with Dravid at the other end, it could only get better. Gambhir soon completed his fifty runs on 127 balls and India was seen crossing the 100-run mark in the 43rd over. With this performance, Gambhir also became the third fastest Indian player to reach 2000 runs after Sehwag and Dravid. The pair gave a slow but cautious start to the day's play, it worked and India went into lunch break with 119/1.

The left and right hand combination came up with 100-run partnership in the 55th over. Dravid kept the momentum and stitched a well-deserving 55th Test half-century of his career. He along with Gambhir got firmly settled in the middle to keep the scoreboard ticking.

The partnership seemed hard to be broken but just few minutes before the tea break, Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori came to the rescue for his side and got the breakthrough in the form of Dravid's wicket, who faced 220 balls since morning to score invaluable 62 runs. It was a commendable performance and much-needed stand for India. Sachin Tendulkar came in to replace 'The Wall', who didn't seem to be happy with the umpire's decision. The game was halted for tea break with India on 180/2, trailing by 134 runs then.

Tendulkar looked unperturbed by the fact that Gambhir and Dravid played a slow but sensible game. He was in his natural form, played some nice shots to support the Delhi dasher at the other end. Tendulkar, who missed a fifty in 1st innings by 1 run, made no mistake to raise his 55th Test half-century of his career in the 2nd innings to reduce New Zealand's hopes of cleaning up the Indian batting order on Day 4.

While, Gambhir showed some great resilience by facing 265 balls to raise his 5th Test century of his career. The Indians, who threw away their wickets in 1st innings, looked conscious today and batted superbly to hang in there. Gambhir and Sachin left the scoreboard at 252 at the loss of 2 wickets.

On Day 3, with the first innings wrapped up on 305, India scored 47 runs in their 2nd innings at the loss of one wicket - Sehwag (22). After getting all out on 305, follow on was imposed on India and they were asked to bat again.