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Ryder double ton lets Kiwis dictate terms

New Zealand declared their first innings at 619-9 and then took three quick wickets to have India 79-3 at the close of day two in the second Test against India in Napier, reports Anand Vasu. See full scorecard | See Spl: The Kiwi Challenge

cricket Updated: Mar 27, 2009 23:59 IST
Anand Vasu

The roles were reversed on Friday as No 3 ranked India were put under pressure by No 8 New Zealand. The home team put together a sustained effort, first with bat and then with ball, leaving India with plenty to do just to ensure that this game does not run away from them.

In the lead-up to the second Test much of the talk centred on India's golden chance to rewrite history, but New Zealand showed that they had no plans of becoming a mere footnote. In perfect conditions for batting Jesse Ryder took full toll. His method of watching the ball closely, playing it late and respecting good deliveries is a foolproof one and if he can execute as well as this, a long and successful career beckons.

In the midst of the run fest several batting subplots unfolded. Jame Franklin and Daniel Vettori helped themselves to half-centuries. Ryder reached his first double-century and admitted later that he had never batted this length of time at any level. Brendon McCullum scored a stroke-filled century that would have been a routine affair had it not been his first at this level in almost four years. Significantly this was McCullum's first hundred against a major team, with his previous efforts coming against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

To be fair to India's bowlers, they began the day well, bowling with purpose in conditions that did not assist them at all. Ryder relentlessly plundered runs and it was a wide half-volley that eventually did him as he dragged the ball back onto his stumps one ball after reaching the 200-run mark.

Vettori kept the Indians out on the field long enough for 619 to be posted, before giving his bowlers a crack at the Indians.

Virender Sehwag seemed determined to show that anything the home batsmen could do he could do better and began with rasping strokes through the off side. After the new-ball operators had failed to separate India’s openers, Vettori brought himself on and struck instantly. Sehwag (34 in 24 balls), who had just launched Vettori over long-on for six, tried to fetch a delivery pushed through a bit wider and feathered and edge to the keeper.

The introduction of Jeetan Patel, the second spinner, brought similar instant success as Gambhir failed to clear mid-on.

With six overs left in the day India chose to send out the nightwatchman and as is so often the case the ploy failed, with Ishant Sharma being trapped in front by Vettori.

The old firm of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were out in the middle and ended the day on 79 for 3. The follow-on mark is some way off yet, but it is a thought that would have crossed the minds of the visitors as the sun set on the second day.