India claim series victory as rain ends Test

India claimed their first Test series victory in New Zealand since 1968 after rain forced the third match at the Basin Reserve to end in a draw on Tuesday.

The hosts, already 1-0 down in the best of three series lurched to 281 for eight when a light rain shower forced the players off at 02:08GMT, about 30 minutes after lunch while they were chasing 617 for an unlikely victory.

Captain Daniel Vettori was on 15, while Iain O’Brien was on 19 when they left the field, and despite two attempts to remove the covers, persistent showers propelled by gale-force northerly winds ensured they never returned from the dressing room.

Umpires called the game off at 16:30 with heavy overcast conditions overhead and the light fading fast.

New Zealand were trailing by a massive 335 runs when rain intervened and with 57,3 overs remaining in the day’s play, facing their worst defeat by runs at home. They were beaten by 299 runs by Pakistan at Eden Park in 2001.

“It was a very good team effort. The batsmen and the bowlers contributed when it was needed from them,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told reporters.

New Zealand had resumed the fifth day on 167 for four with Ross Taylor on 69 and Franklin on 26, with their intention to hold out until the forecast poor weather arrived in the afternoon to dampen India’s hopes of a 2-0 series victory.

Final say
Taylor, who was recalled on Monday after initially being given out for nine, moved comfortably through to his fourth Test century, which he achieved when he flicked a Harbhajan delivery to fine leg for his 15th boundary.

Harbhajan, however, had the final say when Taylor played around a delivery that did not turn and was bowled for 107 to end the 142-run partnership with Franklin.

Wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum survived a chance while on nought when Munaf Patel dropped him at mid-off from a Sachin Tendulkar full toss, but he failed to capitalise when an edge rebounded of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves to Rahul Dravid.

Tendulkar then trapped Franklin in front for 49 to leave New Zealand in deep trouble on 254 for seven at lunch, and with just the bowlers remaining, little hope of batting out the day.

The matched seemed destined for an early finish when Tim Southee was caught by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for three off Harbhajan Singh shortly after the lunch interval.

O’Brien, who hit four boundaries in his innings, and Vettori, however, provided some stubborn resistance and as the rain intensified, they had no hesitation in heading to the changing rooms when asked by umpires Simon Taufel and Daryl Harper.

“I think India outplayed us in most departments apart from our first morning session when we had them 200 for six, from then on in, it’s been India’s game,” said Vettori.

“But there’s been some pleasing aspects, the fight that Ross Taylor and James Franklin showed to give us even a chance of saving the game was pleasing.

“But India obviously dominated the game.”—Reuters


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