Friday, March 20, 2009

Cricket: Tendulkar reigns supreme - NZ's batting woes continue

Live scoring
India claimed three wickets in the final session to leave New Zealand struggling at 75-3 after Sachin Tendulkar notched his 42nd test century to power the visitors to a first innings total of 520 on the third day of the first test in Hamilton.
Tendulkar's 160 helped India to a commanding position in reply to New Zealand's first innings of 279. At stumps, New Zealand still trailed by 166 runs with its fragile middle order exposed and India holding a grip on the first match of a three-test series.
Tendulkar further contributed to India's dominant position when he caught opener Tim McIntosh at slip from the third ball of the innings, before New Zealand had scored.
However, television replays showed the ball, bowled by Zaheer Khan which took the outside edge of McIntosh's bat, may have bounced a fraction of an inch in front of Tendulkar before his hands closed around it.
Tendulkar left the field for medical attention to a cut hand after taking the catch and it is unlikely he could have known if the ball had carried to him, although McIntosh left the field in company with him with obvious reluctance.
The dismissal was a blow to New Zealand's chances of saving the match, which became more tenuous when test rookie Martin Guptill was out for 48 and nightwatchman Kyle Mills fell to the last ball before stumps.
Daniel Flynn was unbeaten on 24 at the end of play.
The day revolved around Tendulkar and his superb innings, which brought up his fourth century against New Zealand and extended his lead over Australian captain Ricky Ponting (37) on the list of test century-makers.
Tendulkar resumed Friday at 70 not out, having batted for 210 minutes on the second day for his 52nd half century in his 157th test. He reached his century in 260 minutes, from 168 balls with 15 fours and his 150 in 359 minutes when India was 407-5. The innings marked the 18th time in his career Tendulkar has scored 150 or more.
He was finally caught by Ross Taylor, standing upright at first slip off Iain O'Brien, after occupying the crease for exactly 400 minutes, facing 260 balls and hitting 26 boundaries.
Tendulkar took 20 runs from the first 13 balls he faced Friday to move into the 90s, then slowed before reaching his century from 168 balls in 260 minutes and with 15 fours.
He took a pair of twos and two singles to reach 96, then a three to got to 99, denied his century at that point by a desperate save on the cover boundary by New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.
Tension built around Seddon Park, and among a crowd of several thousand made up overwhelmingly of New Zealanders of Indian descent, as Tendulkar played out a maiden over from Chris Martin to remain poised for 10 minutes on 99.

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