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Rediff.com  » Cricket » McCullum's heroics earn NZ a deserving draw, India disappoint again

McCullum's heroics earn NZ a deserving draw, India disappoint again

Last updated on: November 16, 2010 15:45 IST

Scorecard:

The second Test between India and New Zealand ended in a draw on the fifth and final day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal on Tuesday.

The home team, set an improbable target of 327 to win, had made 68 without loss (after 17 overs) before the game was called off an hour before the scheduled close.

It was the eighth draw in the last nine Tests played between the two countries on Indian soil. For the record, India has not beaten New Zealand in a Test at home in 11 years - their last Test win over the Black Caps at home coming at Green Park back in 1999.

The result, or rather the lack of it, ensured the series remained up for grabs going into the final Test at Nagpur (starting November 20).

Virender Sehwag scored his 25th Test fifty as India went through the motions in their second innings. He was batting on 54 and giving him company was Gautam Gambhir on 14 when the curtains were drawn.

New Zealand, on the other hand, aware of the eventual result, employed part-timers to do the bowling duties. Chris Martin, their bowling spearhead, didn't even take to the field.

Earlier, Brendon McCullum (225) registered a spectacular double hundred to steer New Zealand to safety, the visitors declaring their second innings at a formidable 448 for eight.

It was New Zealand's highest score in the third innings on Indian soil, besting their 279 at the Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai) in 1988 - in what was their last Test win in India. 

Brendon McCullumFor McCullum, it was his highest Test score, besting his 185 against Bangladesh at Hamilton earlier in the year.

It was also the second double hundred by a New Zealand batsman on Indian soil after Bert Sutcliffe's 230 at the Feroze Shah Kotla (Delhi) back in 1955 while also being the third highest score by a New Zealand batsman against India - after Graham Dowling's 239 at Christchurch in 1967 and Sutcliffe's effort.

Besides, it was the 16th double ton overall by a New Zealand batsman in Tests.

The batsman had batted for almost two sessions on the final day in what was a resolute innings, an innings that headlined a gallant effort by the visitors in their second innings.

And it ended any hopes of a result (read Indian win).

No surprise then that he was named the man-of-the-match for his effort. 

Morning session: (102 runs, 30 overs, 0 wicket)

Williamson ensured New Zealand began the morning session on an aggressive note.

And it was Sreesanth who suffered as a result.

The second ball of the day's first over went to the deep backward square-leg fence, the fourth driven straight past the bowler and the fifth steered through the gully for a third boundary.

And to make things a tad more bad, Tendulkar went off the field during the over having hurt his shoulder following a dive.

Zaheer Khan bowled the second over, his first over since he had left the field with the abdominal strain before lunch on day four. The over cost him two runs.

The fact that Sreesanth's first over cost 13 forced MS Dhoni to introduce spin in the day's third over in the form of Harbhajan.

The new ball was taken in the day's sixth over. However, Zaheer managed to bowl just two more overs before going off the field.

When McCullum took three off Zaheer it ensured the 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket, crucial from the New Zealand point of view not only because it stabilised their innings but also because it came at a good pace, clearly indicating that the visitors were playing some positive cricket.

Williamson meanwhile, continued doing the good work. When he danced down the wicket to hit Ojha over mid-on, the boundary brought him closer to his half century.

He raeched the landmark paddle-sweeping Ojha for a couple. And he celebrated the same by hitting a boundary through point, runs that helped New Zealand cross the 300-run mark.

It was a perfect follow-up for the 20-year-old, who had made 131 on debut in the opening Test at Motera.

Soon after, McCullum completed 150 runs with a three off Ojha. It was the second highest score by a New Zealand batsman on Indian soil after Bert Sutcliffe's 230 at New Delhi back in 1955.

After 105 overs (at lunch), the visitors had made 339 for four, for an overall lead of 217.

Brendon McCullum was batting on 171 and giving him company was Kane Williamson on 66. Their fifth wicket partnership had yielded New Zealand 118 runs thus far and ensured them a second successive draw.

And the duo ensured India would head back to the pavilion for luch without any success in the opening two hours.

Post-lunch session: (109 runs, 30 overs, 4 wickets)

Harbhajan struck soon after lunch, trapping Kane Williamson leg before. The batsman was unlucky as replays clearly showed the ball would have missed the leg stump.

The young Williamson nonetheless made a resolute 69 and added 124 valuable runs for the fifth wicket with McCullum. His resolute 146-ball knock was inclusive of nine hits to the fence.

More imporatntly, the duo negotiated the crucial morning session sans any trouble and negated any hopes the home team had of winning the Test.

Daniel Vettori (23) announced his arrival by sweeping Harbhajan to the midwicket boundary. He repeated the feat in the bowler's next over as well, this time towards the fine-leg boundary.

When on 14, the New Zealand captain was fortunate when Cheteshwar Pujara dropped him (at silly point, off Raina's bowling.

Meanwhile, the McCullum mayhem continued. A six over long-on off Ojha taking into the 190s. And he reached the double ton sweeping Raina to the boundary.

Vettori then smashed a six over long-on off Ojha to bring up the 50-run partnership for the sixth wicket. However, his extravagance soon cost the Kiwi captain his wicket.

Trying to drive a Suresh Raina delivery, Vettori only ended up giving a simple catch to Rahul Dravid at short cover. It was the latter's 199th Test catch and the second time Raina had accounted for the Kiwi captain in this series.

The sixth-wicket partnership nonetheless yielded New Zealand a vital 51 runs and took them further close to safety.

McCullum employed the reverse sweep to good effect again, this time off Ojha, to help his team get past the 400-run mark.

Sreesanth then struck two quick blows to hasten the end.

McCullum was the first to depart, caught at mid-on by Raina. His dismissal bringing to an end a glorious 308-ball knock that was inclusive of 22 hits to the fence and four over it.

Tim Southee (11) hit a couple of boundaries before Sreesanth cleaned him up with a beauty of a delivery, akin to the one that had accounted for Ross Taylor on day four.

However, by then it was too late. India's chances of winning the game had evaporated.

After 135 overs (at tea), the visitors had made 448 for eight, for an overall lead of 326. And they made their declaration at that stage, setting India a target of 327 to win.

Post-tea session: (68 runs, 17 overs, 0 wickets))

It was a dramatic start to the Indian second innings.

In the third ball, bowled by Southee, Gambhir almost lost his wicket when Williamson made a spectacular effort at short midwicket.

The batsman though survived and the reprieve helped him score three runs, his first runs after having registered three second innings ducks in succession.

Gambhir's opening partner, Sehwag, was fortunate as well. A poor short from Arnel's bowling hfell just short of Williamson (again) at square-leg.

Sehwag got a second reprieve when Ross Taylor put him down at first slip off Martin Guptill. The batsman celebrated by hitting a maximum over long-on.

Thereafter, he regaled the crowd with a few good hits, reaching his fifty with a boundary off Taylor.

It was another entertaining innings from Sehwag's blade following his 96 in the opening essay and helped him reclaim his place as the leading scorer in the series.

Play was called off soon after Sehwag reached the personal landmark.

And akin to Motera, Uppal also failed to produce a result.

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