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India within sight of series victory

cricket Updated: Apr 07, 2009 09:38 IST

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India were on the brink of a 2-0 series victory at lunch on the fifth day of the third test against New Zealand before rain stopped play on Tuesday.

The hosts, already 1-0 down in the best of three of series lurched to 254 for seven at the break, chasing an improbable 617 for victory. Captain Daniel Vettori was on 10, while Tim Southee was yet to score.

Part time bowler Sachin Tendulkar was the unlikely destroyer in the first session, capturing the wickets of Brendon McCullum (six) and James Franklin (49) to have figures of two for 26.

New Zealand had resumed on 167 for four with Ross Taylor on 69 and Franklin on 26 with their intention to try to bat time until predicted poor weather arrived in the afternoon to dampen India's hopes of a 2-0 series victory.

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 Singh 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. McCullum survived a chance while on nought when Munaf Patel dropped him at mid-off from a 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, and with just the bowlers remaining, little hope of batting out the day. Play had begun 30 minutes early after bad light forced players off with 21 overs remaining on Monday.