India chip away before play abandoned

Heavy rain brought an early end to the proceedings on the third day of the first cricket Test between India and New Zealand on Saturday.

Updated: August 25, 2012 16:07 IST
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Hyderabad: After asking New Zealand to follow on, India picked up the wicket of Martin Guptill before rain forced the third day's play to be abandoned just before 3pm. New Zealand were on 41 for one, still 238 runs behind India's first-innings score of 438. New Zealand began their second innings extremely cautiously, with Brendon McCullum being the picture of restraint against spin and pace.

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed the new ball to Pragyan Ojha, who made the most of the pronounced seam and hardness of the red cherry. With close-in fielders surrounding the batsmen, runs were hard to come by. At the end of eight overs New Zealand had not managed to score even one run per over, and it was only when Guptill lofted Ojha back over his head and followed it up with a forcing shot for consecutive boundaries did a semblance of normalcy return to proceedings. Guptill, who was let off when Virat Kohli failed to latch on to a sharp chance off Ojha at gully, found that his luck deserted him soon after. Padding up to Ojha, Guptill watched in dismay as Ian Gould, the umpire, upheld a loud shout for lbw. Replays suggested that the ball was gripping the surface and might have spun away to miss the stumps, but New Zealand had lost their first wicket with 26 on the board.

Kane Williamson, coming in at No. 3, steadied the ship in McCullum's company when rain gave New Zealand a breather.

After yet another delayed start, New Zealand found themselves in early trouble. Kruger van Wyk added just five runs to the overnight 106 for five before being beaten by a bit of indifferent bounce to be trapped in front of the stumps to Umesh Yadav.

Doug Bracewell, who was clearly unhappy to be tied down by the nagging line and length that Ojha bowled, attempted to hit his way out of trouble. Ojha saw Bracewell coming early and shortened his length, leaving Dhoni with the easiest of stumpings.

Jeetan Patel then joined Franklin, who was the only batsmen to show some comfort at the crease on the day. Franklin (43 not out) waited for the ball and more importantly played with soft hands. When the opportunity was there to drive, Franklin accepted it gleefully, although he did not go out of his way to create scoring opportunities. Patel became R Ashwin's fourth victim when he launched into a drive and only managed to pop the ball back in the direction of the bowler. Ashwin went down and to his left, taking a good catch low down. The umpires consulted and after reviewing replays decided that the catch was taken cleanly.

Trent Boult then made it five in the innings for Ashwin has he edged to Gautam Gambhir under the helmet. Chris Martin, the certified No. 11, increased Ashwin's joy when he failed to get behind the line of a delivery that spun back in enough to disturb the stumps. At the stroke of lunch Ashwin had six for 31, and New Zealand were bowled out for 159, and India swiftly decided to enforce the follow-on.

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