3rd Test: Batsmen give hosts lead; India 292/2 at stumps on Day 2
Nagpur: India’s famed top order batsmen capitalised on Virender Sehwag’s flourishing start as the hosts took firm control of the third and final cricket Test against New Zealand with a solid batting display here today.
Virender Sehwag (74) provided a flying start alongwith Gautam Gambhir (78) while Rahul Dravid (69 batting) and Sachin Tendulkar (57 batting) consolidated the position for the hosts with an unbroken 100-run partnership for the third wicket.
Monday can turn out to be an eventful day as Tendulkar, was a picture of concentration. He looks determined not throw it away as he requires another 43 runs to complete the historic milestone of 50 centuries in Test cricket.
He completed his half century after punching part-time spinner Martin Guptill to the sweeper cover region for three runs. The kind of applause he received after completing his 59th half century, one can imagine what will happen if he reached the coveted landmark.
The maestro, who was only perturbed by a few short balls from Tim Southee, hit some delightful strokes on both sides of the wicket. Those included a cover drive and steer off Southee, an arrow like straight drive and a cut off McKay and a drive through the mid-wicket boundary off Martin.
With Dravid (69 batting, 167 balls, 8×4) also looking good for his 31st Test century, the hosts would ideally like to pile up a huge score in order to avoid batting last on this track. The Tendulkar-Dravid duo had added exactly 100 runs for the unbroken third wicket stand.
However, if India are in the box seat, credit should go to the start provided by opening duo Sehwag-Gambhir—- inarguably India’s best opening pair in Test matches since Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan in late 70s and early 80s.
The two Delhi players have only themselves to blame for missing out on well-deserved centuries as loose shots led to their dismissals.
While Sehwag scored 74 off only 73 deliveries with the help of 12 fours and a six, Gambhir who has just been made the ODI captain for two matches played an useful innings of 78 with the help of 12 boundaries.
It was again Sehwag who provided the momentum as he send the New Zealand bowlers on a leather hunt blasting his way to 26th half century in Test cricket.
New Zealand first innings: 193 all out in 66.3 overs () India first innings: 292 for two in 82 overs (Gautam Gambhir 78, Virender Sehwag 74; Tim Southee 1/41).