India rides on Gamhir's ton
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 29th March 2009
Gautam Gambhir hit his fifth century after Sachin Tendulkar hit his 52nd half-century to take India to 252/2 following-on in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day of the second Test against New Zealand at McLean Park in Napier. The fourth day's play started with Gambhir and Dravid resuming the Indian second innings at 47/1.
At close of play, India trailed New Zealand by 62 runs with Gambhir (102) and Tendulkar (58) at the crease. Tendulkar hit a six and 8 fours in his 58-run knock, while Gambhir's century was studded with 14 fours as as New Zealand took the second new ball straightaway after tea but failed to get any breakthrough.
It was a superb, determined effort from Gambhir, who notched up his first century outside the sub-continent and became the first Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar (1976) to hit a century on Kiwi soil.
Tendulkar hit three fours in one over by Chris Martin, first to the fine leg boundary, second to the square leg boundary and the third to the cover fence - that was the best of the lot as the master went down on one knee while executing a cover drive. Tendulkar brought up the Indian 200 on the first delivery of the next over by Iain O'Brien by rocking on the back foot and punching it through the covers to send the ball racing to the fence.
The highlight of the second session of the day's play was Rahul Dravid falling prey to a wrong decision by umpire Ian Gould to reduce India to 163/2. The incident happened when a Daniel Vettori delivery hit Dravid's pads and ballooned up, Jamie How at short leg dived forward and Gould gave it out. Dravid hit his 56th half-century enroute 62 with the help of 6 fours and a six - the 15th of his Test career. This is the tenth time that Dravid crossed 50 in both the innings of a Test match.
Dravid and Gautam Gambhir added 133 runs for the second wicket and this is the 75th 100-run partnership that Dravid has been involved in. Earlier, Gambhir and Dravid took India to 119/1 at lunch, trailing New Zealand by 195 runs.
When he reached 56, Gambhir became the third fastest Indian, after Dravid and Sehwag, to reach 2000 Test runs. Gambhir reached the landmark in 43 innings while Dravid and Sehwag took 40 Test innings to reach the milestone. Gambhir reached his 11th half-century through his eighth hit to the fence.