Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Taylor, Ryder centuries rescue Black Caps

AFP , NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand’s Jamie How is clean bowled by India’s Zaheer Khan on the first day of the second Test at McLean Park in Napier, New Zealand, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

A record-breaking partnership brought centuries for Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder and steadied New Zealand after a shaky start on day one of the second Test against India yesterday.

At stumps, New Zealand were 351-4, with Ryder not out on 137 and Taylor back in the pavilion for 151 after the pair put on 271 for the fourth wicket.

It was a record New Zealand fourth wicket stand against any country and a record for any New Zealand partnership against India.

There was an air of vulnerability about the India side for the first time in the series, as catch opportunities went begging and sloppy fielding gifted New Zealand boundaries.

It was a sharp turnaround in fortunes after India cleaned up the first Test by 10 wickets with a day to spare and had New Zealand reeling at 23-3 at the start of the second Test.

The three wickets fell in the space of just two runs and Zaheer Khan was on a hat-trick when Ryder joined Taylor in the middle.

India could have had New Zealand 31-4, but Yuvraj Singh dropped Taylor at third slip when he was on 4.

It proved a costly miss.

Taylor and Ryder added a further 263 before Yuvraj made amends by catching Taylor off Harbhajan Singh — but only just.

After waiting an age, he miscalculated where the skied ball would come down and ending up diving to take the catch just above ground level.

Ryder continued with James Franklin, who was 26 not out at the close after being dropped by Yuvraj at slip when on 7.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss earlier and said it was a straightforward decision to bat on a flat brown pitch that offered the bowlers nothing.

But it looked early on as if New Zealand were in danger of repeating their first Test flop as three wickets fell in quick succession.

The erratic Tim McIntosh was given out caught by replacement wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off Ishant Sharma for 12, while the recalled Jamie How lasted just 11 deliveries before he was bowled by Zaheer for 1.

Zaheer took Martin Guptill for 8 with the first ball of his next over, which was fended to a diving Virender Sehwag, the stand-in Indian captain, at gully.

Then the fightback started, Taylor favoring his trademark square cut, which brought most of the 26 boundaries, in his 262 minutes in the middle.

New Zealand had made two changes from the first Test, with How in for the injured Daniel Flynn and off-spinner Jeetan Patel replacing out-of-sorts fast bowler Kyle Mills.

Mahendra Singh Donhi pulled out of the India side before the toss with a back strain. Karthik replaced him as wicketkeeper and Sehwag took over as the India captain.

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