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Harbhajan strikes maiden hundred, India at 255/8

cricket Updated: Nov 08, 2010 15:27 IST

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Harbhjan Singh struck his maiden Test century as India reached 255 for eight in the second innings at tea in the first cricket Test against New Zealand on Monday.

Harbhajan was batting at 110 and Pragyan Ojha at seven at the break with India leading by 283 runs.

V.V.S. Laxman, who along with Harbhajan steered India to safety at lunch, fell at 91 when he was trapped leg before by New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori (2-81). An inspired spell of fast bowling by New Zealand's Chris Martin reduced India to two runs for three wickets in their second innings, with an overall lead of 30, at tea on day four of the opening test on Sunday.

Martin got the edges of Gautam Gambhir (nought) and Rahul Dravid (one), with both batsmen caught behind by wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins.

In the first innings centurion Virender Sehwag (one) was run out by substitute Martin Guptill after a misunderstanding with Dravid.

Earlier, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha picked up four wickets to leave India with a 28-run first innings lead. Resuming on 331-5, the visitors were all out for 459 shortly before tea in reply to India's first innings score of 487.

Kane Williamson (131), scoring a century on his test debut, and captain Daniel Vettori (41) buoyed the New Zealand innings with an 86-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Ojha picked up his second four-wicket haul, his best figures in a test innings, adding the wickets of centurion Williamson and Gareth Hopkins on Sunday.

Pacers Zaheer Khan and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth picked up two wickets apiece.

The 20-year old Williamson was unbeaten on 87 overnight and brought up his hundred with a flick to the fine leg boundary off left-arm pacer Khan.

Williamson, who led New Zealand in the 2008 under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, fell at the stroke of lunch, edging one to Vangipurappu Laxman at slip off Ojha.

Batting with an uncanny calmness and composure, he was equally at ease against the Indian spinners and reverse swing from the pacers, though he was lucky to survive a caught behind appeal on 56 against Khan.

Vettori passed 4,000 test runs before falling just after lunch, edging part-time off-spinner Suresh Raina to captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.