Sat, Mar 28, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Ryder's double century puts Black Caps in control

AFP , NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND

A Jesse Ryder double ton and centuries from Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum put New Zealand in a commanding position at the close of day two in the second Test against India yesterday.

New Zealand declared their first innings at 619-9 and then took three quick wickets to have India 79-3 at stumps.

Spinners Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel did the damage as India ended the day 540 runs in arrears.

With three days remaining, the New Zealand century-makers, backed by half-centuries from Vettori and James Franklin, had taken New Zealand from a faltering 23-3 to a position from where they should not lose.

New Zealand needed a morale-boosting performance after being thrashed by 10 wickets in the first Test and reeling early on a placid track.

Ryder stepped up, casting aside the swashbuckling approach that has made him an impressive one-day performer, and knuckling down in a stand of sublime concentration that lasted just over eight hours.

In an innings of milestones Ryder was the star, reaching his maiden double century in his eighth Test by pulling Zaheer Khan to the boundary for four to move to 201.

However, Ryder’s celebrations were short-lived as an uncharacteristic slash at the next delivery chopped the ball back on to the stumps.

Ryder, who scored his maiden Test century in the first Test last week, produced only the 15th double ton in New Zealand Test history.

In an innings that was a portrait of patience, he faced 328 deliveries, hit 24 fours and a six, and seldom put a foot wrong.

But after a heroic innings, he threw his bat away in disgust when returning to the dressing room.

“I was just so disappointed going so far and working so hard to get to where I did, and just to get out like that really angered me,” Ryder said.

He and Taylor came together with New Zealand on the ropes and put on 241 before Taylor went for 151.

Ryder then shared in a 121-run partnership with James Franklin for the fifth wicket and added 62 runs with McCullum for the sixth.

New Zealand resumed the second day at 351-4 and added 64 runs before Franklin was run out for 52 when he was slow to respond to Ryder’s call for a quick single.

McCullum appeared to shed a tear as he reached his third Test century — and first against a major playing nation — after he cut Virender Sehwag through backward point for four in the final over before tea.

After the tea break, Vettori lasted two overs, time enough to race from 43 to 55, before he was bowled by Ishant Sharma.

Two overs later, McCullum’s stand came to an end when he belted Sharma to Sachin Tendulkar at deep point.

In contrast to Ryder’s measured approach, McCullum’s 115 came from 140 balls and included 13 fours.

In the over following McCullum’s dismissal, Vettori called his side in when Harbhajan Singh had Jeetan Patel caught for 1.

On a wicket that proved unresponsive for the quick bowlers, Sharma finished with three for 95 and Khan three for 129.

However, Vettori’s decision to mix spin and pace with the new ball paid handsome dividends, with the New Zealand captain taking two for 16 off five overs.

Sehwag blasted 34 off 25 balls, including five boundaries and a six, before he was caught behind by McCullum off Vettori’s bowling.

Gautam Gambhir scored 16 before he hit a gentle catch to Vettori off Patel.

Nightwatchman Sharma went leg before wicket to Vettori without scoring, leaving Rahul Dravid on 21 and Tendulkar, yet to score.

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