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India restrict Kiwis to 279
Hamilton, Mar 18 (Agencies):
Published on 19 Mar. 2009 12:16 AM IST
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Indian pacers fired in unison to wrap up New Zealand’s first innings for just 279 runs on Day 1 of the first Test in Hamilton. Their plight would have been worse had there not been a crucial 186-run partnership between Daniel Vettori and Jesse Ryder for the seventh wicket. Both the New Zealanders slammed centuries to put up a fighting total. In reply to New Zealand’s 279 runs, Indian openers Virender Sehwag (22) and Gautam Gambhir (6) made 29 runs at the close of day’s play. Winning the toss, Indian skipper MS Dhoni put the hosts in to bat as he wanted to give his pace bowlers a chance to exploit the early seaming conditions and his bowlers did not let him down. They picked six wickets in the first session to push New Zealand on the backfoot. New Zealand were tottering at 60 for 6, when skipper Vettori came to their rescue along with Ryder. Vettori got his third Test hundred to steady his side with the help of fourteen 4s and two 6s. He made 118 before he nicked a Munaf Patel-delivery and was caught behind. Ryder, on the other end, held the innings together and got his maiden Test hundred in 162 balls with the help of fourteen 4s. Apart from these two, no other Kiwi batsman could make substantial contribution. Earlier, Indian pace spearhead Khan justified his captain’s decision with two quick wickets of Kiwi opener Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn. He is just a wicket away from completing his 200 Test wickets. He got his first wicket in Guptill who was taken by Rahul Dravid in slips for 14 runs. Guptill tried to defend a straight delivery from Zaheer that was pitched on middle and off stump. The ball took a thick outside edge and flew towards the first slip. Dravid, who was standing in the second slip, took a good diving catch. Dravid needs just one more catch to become the most successful catcher of the Test history. Flynn, who came after Guptill’s fall, failed to open his account. He nicked a Zaheer-delivery going towards the leg-side and wicketkeeper Dhoni took a diving catch successfully. Taking a cue from Zaheer, Ishant picked three wickets - Tim McIntosh, Ross Taylor and James Franklin - in quick succession. A swinging delivery took the outside edge of Kiwi opener McIntosh’s bat and went to Sehwag at the second slip for 12 runs. Taylor was done in by a beauty from Ishant for 18 runs. The ball nipped in, struck and sneaked through bat and pad to crash into the stumps. New batsman James Franklin was Ishant’s third victim. He was taken by Dhoni behind the wicket off the second ball that he faced. But was he really out? Well, referral system is not on in this series! Third seamer Munaf Patel who finished the innings with three crucial wickets, opened his account with Brendon McCullum. The demolishing wicketkeeper batsman pushed a ball hard that was going out and VVS Laxman took a safe catch in the second slip. Patel’s second (Vettori) and third (Kyle Milss) victims fell in succession. Ryder was just a couple of runs away from his maiden ton, when Neil O’Brien (8) walked back as the ninth man. He was stumped by Dhoni off Harbhajan Singh. Last man Chris Martin hung on to let Ryder get his well-deserved maiden hundred. However, Ryder threw away his wicket soon after and perished as Ishant’s fourth prey. He fell as the last Kiwi wicket.

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