India crushed New Zealand for the second cosecutive day to jump literally into the driver’s seat of the third and final Test at Nagpur. After wrapping up the Kiwi innings for 193, India finished the day strongly at 292 for 2 in 82 overs to get to a lead of 99 runs. The writing is on the wall for a Kiwi defeat with plenty of time left in this match and the pitch only expected to take more turn.
A full day’s play was almost possible at Nagpur which started at 9:00 AM. Within the first 20 minutes, Ishant Sharma sent Brendon McCullum out of the middle with a rising delivery which forced a nick off a backfoot drive to MS Dhoni. McCullum ended his fight with a 84-ball 40 that had 4 fours. In the next twenty minutes or so, Ishant Sharma had shattered the stumps of Andy McKay with a rising delivery that stayed low in the 64th over. Three overs later, it was all over when Tim Southee after an entertaining 38 with 2 fours and 3 sixes (from 68 balls) miscued his lofted shot off Pragyan Ojha to long on.
The Kiwis lost their remaining three wickets to be bowled out in 10.3 overs this morning having resumed Day 2 at 148 for 7. Ishant Sharma had good returns of 18-4-43-4. Pragyan Ojha came next with 19.3-2-57-3. India batted out 19 overs before lunch in which the openers – Sehwag and Gambhir smashed 89 runs on the board without losing their wickets!
After lunch, New Zealand got the much needed wicket of Virender Sehwag (74 from 73 balls with 12 fours and a six) dragged a return catch to Vettori while trying to manufacture a slog. By then India was off to a splendid start at 113 for 1 in the 24th over. Gautam Gambhir continued to flourish and in the company of Dravid added 79 runs for the second wicket before throwing his wicket with a cute late cut shot off Southee which flew straight to gully. Gambhir got out scoring 78 from 127 balls with 12 fours. India at Tea progressed to 205 for 2 in 48 overs.
The final session which saw 34 overs bowled had India scoring only 87 runs but for no wickets going down. Rahul Dravid moved steadily to 69* from 167 balls (with 8 fours) while Sachin Tendulkar on 57* from 126 balls (with 7 fours) is well set to possibly complete a 50th Test hundred on the third day’s play. The Kiwis who had taken the second new ball as and when it was available will be hoping to take wickets in a hurry tomorrow morning.