McCullum leads New Zealand fightback (Roundup)

Monday, November 15, 2010

HYDERABAD - Brendon McCullum struck an unbeaten 124 to lead New Zealand’s fight-back after Harbhajan Singh became the first No.8 batsman to score back-to-back centuries to give India a handy lead on the fourth day of the second cricket Test here Monday.

Harbhajan smashed an unbeaten 111, hitting seven fours and seven sixes, and with S. Sreesanth (24) added 105 runs for the last wicket before India were all out for 472 runs in their first innings in the first hour of the day.

An attacking McCullum then scored his fifth century in 177 balls as New Zealand reached 237 for four at close of play in their second innings, and opened up a lead of 115. Opener Tim McIntosh made 49 while Kane Williamson was unbeaten on 12.

McCullum and a cautious McIntosh, who scored a century in New Zealand’s first-innings of 350, added 125 for the first wicket and erased India’s first-innings lead quickly. The century partnership was New Zealand’s first for the first wicket in six years and it came to an end after McIntosh got an inside edge off his pads to be caught at short leg to substitute Cheteshwar Pujara off spinner Pragyan Ojha shortly before tea.

McCullum used his feet brilliantly against the Indian spinners. He hit 11 boundaries, including three sixes against the Indian attack, which was handicapped after pace spearhead Zaheer Khan left the field midway through his fifth over with an abdominal strain.

Ojha then removed Martin Guptil (18), who was caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and part-time spinner Suresh Raina removed the in-form Jesse Ryder (12) also caught behind by Dhoni. Ross Taylor (7) was bowled by a good delivery from Sreesanth.

Earlier, Harbhajan became the first No.8 batsman to score consecutive centuries in Test cricket and guided India to 472 in the first innings.

Resuming at 436 for nine, Harbhajan and Sreesanth lasted 10 overs to add 36 runs in the first hour of the day. Harbhajan, who was unbeaten on his overnight score of 85, hit a massive six off New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori to move from 91 to 97.

Harbhajan then completed his second Test hundred with a single down to deep fine leg off Tim Southee, sparking wild celebrations.

will not be displayed