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27 Mar 2009 09:39
A Jesse Ryder double ton and centuries from Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum put New Zealand in a commanding position at the close of day two in the second Test against India here on Friday.
New Zealand declared their first innings at 619-9 and then took three quick wickets to have India 79-3 at stumps.
Spinners Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel did the damage as India ended the day 540 runs in arrears.
With three days remaining, the New Zealand century-makers, backed by half-centuries from Vettori and James Franklin, had taken New Zealand from a faltering 23-3 to a position from where they should not lose.
New Zealand needed a morale-boosting performance after being thrashed by 10 wickets in the first Test and reeling early on a placid track here.
Ryder stepped up, casting aside the swashbuckling approach that has made him an impressive one-day performer, and knuckling down in a stand of sublime concentration that lasted just more than eight hours.
In an innings of milestones he was the star, reaching his maiden double century in his eighth Test by pulling Zaheer Khan to the boundary for four to move to 201.
However, Ryder’s celebrations were short-lived as an uncharacteristic slash at the next delivery chopped the ball back on to the stumps.
Ryder, who scored his maiden Test century in the first Test last week, produced only the 15th double ton in New Zealand Test history.
In an innings that was a portrait of patience, he faced 328 deliveries, hit 24 fours and a six, and seldom put a foot wrong.
Ryder was prepared to play a straight bat to the true deliveries and pick off anything loose to ensure New Zealand’s recovery from the early collapse.
He and Taylor came together with New Zealand on the ropes and put on 241—a record New Zealand fourth wicket stand against any country, and a record for any New Zealand partnership against India—before Taylor went for 151.
He then shared in a 121-run partnership with James Franklin for the fifth wicket and added 62 runs with McCullum for the sixth.
New Zealand resumed the second day at 351-4 and added 64 runs before Franklin was run out for 52 when he was slow to respond to Ryder’s call for a quick single.
McCullum reached his third Test century, and first against a major playing nation, when he cut Virender Sehwag through backward point for four in the final over before tea.
After the break, Vettori lasted two overs, time enough to race from 43 to 55, before he was bowled by Ishant Sharma.
Two overs later, McCullum’s stand came to an end when he belted Sharma to Tendulkar at deep point.
In contrast to Ryder’s measured approach, McCullum’s 115 came from 140 balls and included 13 fours.
In the over following McCullum’s dismissal, Vettori called his side in when Harbhajan Singh had Jeetan Patel caught for one.
On a wicket that proved unresponsive for the quick bowlers, Sharma finished with three for 95 and Khan three for 129. However, Vettori’s decision to mix spin and pace with the new ball paid handsome dividends in the 23 overs India faced before stumps with the New Zealand captain taking two for 16 off five overs.
Sehwag blasted 34 off 25 balls, including five boundaries and a six, before he was caught behind by McCullum off Vettori.
Gambhir, who survived a close run out call on 11, moved through to 16 before he hit a gentle catch to Vettori off Patel.
Nightwatchman Sharma went lbw to Vettori without scoring leaving Rahul Dravid on 21 and Sachin Tendulkar, yet to get off the mark, to resume on the third day.—Sapa-AFP
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