Thursday, March 19, 2009

CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Cricket-India within one run of New Zealand

(Corrects fall of wickets to four in second para)
* Gambhir, Dravid and Tendulkar make half-centuries
* India one run behind New Zealand at stumps (Updates at close)
WELLINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - India were just one run short of New Zealand's first innings when they accepted an offer of bad light on the second day of the opening test in Hamilton on Thursday.
The tourists were in complete control at 278 for four in reply to New Zealand's modest first-day effort of 279 when the umpires offered them the chance of an early finish and they happily accepted.
Sachin Tendulkar, who survived a dropped catch on 14, was unbeaten on 70 with Yuvraj Singh not out eight after Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid both helped themselves to half-centuries earlier in the day.
Gambhir struck a patient 72 while a composed Dravid made 66 to lay the platform to build a healthy first innings lead on a flat batting deck offering little encouragement to the bowlers.
New Zealand had made a bright start to the day when they dismissed dangerous opener Virender Sehwag at the start of the morning session, which was delayed by 15 minutes because of overnight rain.
Sehwag had added just two runs to his overnight score of 22 when he was run out at the non-striker's end by a direct hit from James Franklin.
But India, who had resumed on 29-0, dominated the rest of the day with their batsmen all opting for a steady approach at Seddon Park.
Gambhir brought up his half-century off 101 balls to help India reach lunch on 108 for one but lost his wicket in the middle session when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum off the bowling of Chris Martin.
Dravid brought up his fifty off 108 deliveries but a momentary lapse in concentration cost him his wicket when he was bowled by Iain O'Brien.
New Zealand almost had a fourth scalp just before the tea break when Tendulkar mistimed a pull off Daniel Vettori but Daniel Flynn failed to hold a difficult, running catch at midwicket.
India went to tea on 197-3 but lost Laxman in the final session when Martin was given the second new ball and Laxman edged to Ross Taylor at first slip on 30.
Tendulkar made the most of his let-off as he crawled to his half-century off 118 deliveries but survived the day in sight of another hundred.

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