Styris slams ton as Kiwis fly high
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Styris slams ton as Kiwis fly high

Scott Styris joined the run feast on Friday with a career-best 119 as New Zealand kindled hopes of a dream series win on Indian soil.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2003 09:53 IST
M R Mishra (PTI)
M R Mishra (PTI)

Scott Styris joined the run feast with a career-best 119 as New Zealand kindled hopes of a dream series win on Indian soil, powering to a mammoth 536 for five in their first innings at close in the series-deciding second cricket Test here on Friday.

After centurions Lou Vincent and Mark Richardson, it was the turn of Styris to make merry and score his second Test ton on a flat pitch as New Zealand posted their best-ever total against India to leave the hosts the task of defending their impeccable home reputation.

Even if the Kiwis are unable to force a win in this Test, a draw would also be a creditable result for them in what was billed as a 'revenge series'.

At close Craig McMillan was batting on 58 while Robbie hart was on ten.

Resuming at their overnight score of 247 for one, both Richardson and Styris showed no signs of any urgency in the run collection as they continued to play in the same vein to frustrate the Indian bowlers even more.

Richardson, who shared a marathon 231-run opening partnership with Vincent to provide the ideal platform for a mammoth Kiwi total, was the first player to depart today but not before stitching a 151-run second wicket partnership with Styris to put the Indians completely on the backfoot.

The hapless Indians failed to break the partnership in the pre-lunch session but it was Harbhajan Singh who eventually provided the much needed breakthough by evicting Richardson who made full use of his share of luck, benefitting from two dropped catches.

Richardson, who was dropped by captain Rahul Dravid early in his innings yesterday, got another reprieve today with the captain being the culprit yet again.

The left-handed opener was on 111 when he edged Anil Kumble to first slip but the Indian captain failed to latch on to the catch, allowing him to carry on with the job of taking the Kiwis to a position of strength from where they could dictate terms.

Richardson tried to lift Harbhajan over the fence but mistimed his shot and Kumble held on to a well-judged catch at the long on boundary, bringing his 548-minute vigil to an end. The opener slammed 19 boundaries and faced 410 balls during his career-best knock of 145. His previous best was 143 against Bangladesh in Hamilton during the 2001-02 series.

Styris gave ample proof of his batting skills to crack a career-best 119 and tried to force the pace of the scoring, which was quite slow in the opening session, alongwith his captain Stephen Fleming who struck a breezy 30 off 34 balls.

Styris, unbeaten on 43 at the lunch break, mixed caution with aggression to notch up his second Test century as the tired Indian bowlers seemed to just go through their motions.

The all-rounder completed his ton in 196 balls by taking three runs off Tendulkar, gliding the ball to the third man region. His previous best score was 107 achieved against the West Indies in 2001-02.

It is for the seventh time in Test history that the three top oder batsmen have scored a century and the first time against India, a clear indication that the track has been a batsman's paradise.

Fleming, who joined the action after Richardson's departure, made his intentions clear by going for his strokes by using his feet to the spinners in a bid to accelerate the pace of scoring.

The left-handed captain, who failed with the bat in both the innings of the first Test in Ahmedabad, lifted Harbhajan for a huge six over the bowler's head and then produced another blistering boundary.

But his beligerence was shortlived as he fell a victim to the part-time bowling of Tendulkar who managed to get one through his gates to dislodge the stumps much to the jubilation of a meagre crowd which had otherwise very little to cheer about.

The hosts tasted success immediately after the tea break when the well-set Styris, who was showing signs of breaking loose, perished to the hard-working Kumble who bowled reasonably well on a track which gave him little assistance.

Styris went on the backfoot to play a stroke on the leg side but missed the line completely to be trapped plumb in front of the wicket. His 251-ball effort contained ten boundaries and two sixes and came in 293 minutes.

When Styris returned to the pavilion with New Zealand on 447 for four, it looked that the Indians would be able to contain the run flow with two new batsmen on the crease but the in-form Nathan Astle and Craig Mcmillan dashed their plans.

However, Astle, who was unusually sedate unlike his partner McMillan, could not survive for long, falling prey to Harbhajan for a 72-ball 18. Astle tried to cut the off spinner but only managed to edge the ball to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps.

India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, VVS Laxman, Parthiv Patel, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, L Balaji and Yuvraj Singh.

New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (capt), Mark Richardson, Lou Vincent, Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan, Scott Styris, Robbie Hart, Daniel Vettori, Paul Wiseman, Daryl Tuffey, Ian Butler.

Umpires: David Shepherd (Eng) and Rudi Koertzen (SA).

Third umpire: K Hariharan (Ind).


First Published: Oct 17, 2003 11:07 IST