Dravid’s 31st Test ton puts India on top against New Zealand

Monday, November 22, 2010

NAGPUR - Rahul Dravid struck a classy 191 as India declared their first innings at 566 for eight and enjoyed a 349-run lead over New Zealand at the end of the third day’s play in the third and final cricket Test here Monday.

New Zealand, who had a great chance of pulling off a series win at the start of the match, were 24 for one in their second innings at close with Brendon McCullum batting on 15 and Gareth Hopkins on one with the visitors staring at the huge task of avoiding an innings defeat at the Vidharbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium at the Jamtha.

New Zealand were bowled out for 193 runs in their first innings.

Resuming at the overnight score of 292 for two, India lost Sachin Tendulkar quickly. The batting maestro could add just four runs to his overnight total of 57 and was caught behind off the bowling of Andy McKay. V.V.S. Laxman (12) and Suresh Raina (3) were also dismissed cheaply and it was left to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to arrest the slide with his stroke-filled 98.

Rahul Dravid and Dhoni added 193 for a record sixth-wicket stand and the partnership was broken by New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori, who took a fine catch off his own bowling to remove Dhoni.

Dravid completed his second century of the series — he made 104 in Ahmedabad — and 31st of his career with a flick for two off Vettori. He fell nine short of what could have been his sixth double century when he gave a catch to Martin Guptill at long-off on the bowling of part-time offspinner Kane Williamson.

India declared shortly after Dravid’s fall and gave 13 overs to the bowlers to make some early inroads. Spinner Harbhajan trapped Tim McIntosh (8) leg before leaving New Zealand at 24 for one at stumps.

The previous two Tests, in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, ended in draws.

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