India take a 2-0 lead
Gautam Gambhir stamped his authority with a majestic century as India romped to a convincing eight-wicket win thereby taking a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday.
Gambhir, the stand-in captain led by example carrying his bat through the innings for an unbeaten 116-ball 138, after S Sreesanth's inspired spell at the death helped the hosts restrict New Zealand to 258 for eight in the second One-dayer.
Virat Kohli, after his match-winning hundred in the series opener in Guwahati, continued to impress, compiling a neat 64 off 73 balls. But by the time Ross Taylor produced a blinder at short midwicket to send Kohli back, the issue was more or less sealed.
Image: Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir celebrate after winning the second ODI against New Zealand in Jaipur
First century in almost a year
This was Gambhir's first century in almost a year, the last one coming in the home series against Sri Lanka on Christmas eve when he smashed an unbeaten 150 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Gambhir's knock was decorated with 18 sweetly timed hits to the fence and a six.
During their march to victory, India had two fruitful partnerships Gambhir and Murali Vijay gave the hosts a solid start putting on 87 runs for the first wicket, before Kohli joined the captain to forge a century stand that made only one result possible: An India victory.
Gambhir then, in the company of Yuvraj Singh, completed the task in the 43rd over.
Both Gambhir and Kohli got to their personal landmarks with boundaries. Kohli pulled Kyle Mills over square-leg boundary to notch up his eight ODI fifty, and moments later, Gambhir reached his hundred by dispatching McKay over midwicket, his eighth ton in this format of the game.
Image: Gautam Gambhir raises his bat after making his century against New Zealand in Jaipur
India off to a cautious start
The start was, however, tentative for the Indian captain -- he nearly played a Mills delivery on to his stumps. But that was all New Zealand could manage as Gambhir soon started dealing in boundaries and how.
He began proceedings with an uppish drive over mid-off for a boundary. The southpaw then gave himself some room and smashed Mills through point for the same result, before easing into another majestic drive through extra cover and mid-off off the same bowler.
Off side turned out to be his favoured area and anything pitched on or outside off was treated with sheer disdain by the Delhi left-hander, who was particularly severe on Mills in the first few overs of India innings.
Murali Vijay, meanwhile, sent Daniel Vettori over the midwicket region but the Chennai lad, as is often the case with him, wasted another start getting out to the New Zeland skipper while going for a slog sweep.
Image: Murali Vijay is clean bowled by Daniel Vettori during the second ODI against New Zealand
Sreeshant shines with ball
Earlier, Sreesanth took the important wickets of opener Jamie How, Styris, Vettori and Mills to finish with impressive figures of four for 47 in nine overs, the sole reason India managed to restrict the visitors to a manageable total after Styris and Vettori threatened to take the match away with a swashbuckling half-century stand.
Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan and Ravichandran Ashwin took a wicket each even as opener Martin Guptill played the sheet-anchor's role to perfection.
The Kiwi was given out in controversial circumstances when he fell caught behind to Ashwin after making a painstaking fifty. His innings was laced with three boundaries and a lofted six off Pathan over midwicket.
Styris and Vettori took over after Guptill's dismissal. Styris powered his way to a breezy 59 off 56 balls with the help of five fours and a huge six, while Vettori contributed 31 off 32, an innings that included four hits to the fence.
Sreesanth, however, had other ideas and struck when India needed him the most, removing dangerman Styris and Kiwi skipper Vettori off successive deliveries. Nathan McCullum survived the hat-trick ball.
Image: S Sreesanth celebrates after picking up a wicket during the second ODI against New Zealand in Jaipur
Munaf, Yusuf picked up one wicket apiece
First change Munaf Patel, coming in for the mediocre Ashish Nehra, impressed immediately, posing some serious questions to Guptill and Williamson.
Maintaining a good line and length instead of bowling flat out, Munaf was rewarded for his discretion when he went through the gate of Williamson in his fourth over.
The young and immensely talented Kiwi was just shaping up to play a good innings when Munaf got one to swing in slightly from a good length that clipped the bail on the off-stump.
Munaf could have had another in his bag, when Ross Taylor attempted an extravagant shot off the bowler, but Ashwin, positioned in the region between deep square-leg and deep mid-wicket, dropped a sitter.
That miss, however, didn't turn out to be a costly one for India as Yusuf Pathan flummoxed Taylor with the first ball of his spell. Taylor, who top-scored for the visitors in their 40-run defeat in the first match in Guwahati, went for a slog-sweep to a delivery that pitched over midwicket, but could not clear the waiting hands of Virat Kohli.
Image: Munaf Patel celebrates with team-mates after picking up the wicket of Kane Williamson during the second ODI in Jaipur