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Sachin slams 53rd Test 50, India 190/5 at tea
Posted on: 03-04-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

slipping from a comfortable 165/2 to 182/5 in space of 10 overs as New Zealand fought their way back into the game. Resuming from 190/5 after tea, India received their sixth jolt when Rahul Dravid fell to Chris Martin after a dogged 35 run knock.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Sing were holding fort for raising a counter attacking half-century partnership.

Earlier in the day, after New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and opted to make first use the cherry, India made a flying start as Virender Sehwag, relieved of his captaincy duties for Wellington Test following Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successful return from injury, unleashed an array of attacking shots.

Having raced away to 73 runs in just more than an hour, almost immediately after the first drinks break, India lost its first wicket when Sehwag nicked an o’Brien delivery to wicket-keeper Brendon McCullam. Sehwag scored a brisk 48, his knock coming off just 51 balls. He hit 7 fours and one six.

In the very next over, India lost its second wicket in the form of Napier centurion Gautam Gambhir. The Delhi Southpaw was trapped in front of the wicket by James Franklin for 23 runs.

Gambhir’s dismissal brought batting Maestro Sachin Tendulkar to the crease as the 3000-odd crowd at the Basin Reserve got abuzz with anticipation. Tendulkar, along with Rahul Dravid, in what could be their last Test match on New Zealand soil, anchored India safely past the 100 run mark, as the visitors went to lunch at 101/2.

A vintage Tendulkar was on display in the post lunch session as the Mumbaikar stamped his class with gay abandon at the Basin Reserve. While dissecting all parts of the ground with an effortless ease, Tendulkar plundered most of his runs from square of the wicket as India looked set for a mammoth first inning total.

However it proved to be a false dawn when, having reached his 53rd half-century off 67 balls, Tendulkar edged a catch to McCullam, which brought his downfall. Tendulkar made 62 runs off just 85 balls, his knock punctuated with 11 sublime hits to the fence.

Tendulkar’s departure was preceded by a middle-order collapse as VVS Laxman (4) and Yuvraj Singh (9) fell cheaply.

India went to tea at 190/5.

New Zealand made two changes to the team that played in the second Test, Daniel Flynn replacing Jamie How and Southee coming in place of Jeetan Patel.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel.

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