Oz batsmen move up Reliance Mobile ICC player rankings

Dubai, July 13 (ANI): Australia’s batsmen are on the move in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen with three of them achieving career-best rankings after a nail-biting finish in the first Ashes Test against England at Cardiff.

pener Simon Katich, middle-order batsmen Marcus North and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin all scored centuries to help Australia declare its first innings at 674-6 in reply to England’s first innings score of 435. And for these efforts, all the three batsmen have been rewarded with big jumps in the rankings which are updated after every Test.

Katich, who scored 122, has gone up by four places and now sits in 14th position alongside India great Sachin Tendulkar. Marcus North, who struck an unbeaten 125, has rocketed 23 places to 43rd position while Haddin, who scored 121, has climbed six places to 30th spot.

Besides the trio, captain Ricky Ponting has also inched towards the top five after scoring an elegant 150 and is now in sixth place after swapping positions with Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardena, vice-captain Michael Clarke has replaced South Africa captain Graeme Smith in eighth place and opener Phillip Hughes has lifted himself two places to 33rd position.

Australia’s only disappointment is the fall of Mike Hussey whose first innings contribution of three has resulted in him dropping of the top 20 for the first time since his rapid rise up the table at the start of his international career.

England’s only batsman to make an upward movement is Paul Collingwood who has returned to the top 20 by climbing five places to 19th position after scoring two half-centuries in the match, including a gritty 74 in the second innings that spanned almost six hours of batting.

Three of the top four England batsmen – Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara – have dropped in the latest rankings while Kevin Pietersen has managed to hang on to his 10th place.

England captain Strauss, who scored 30 and 17, has dropped out of the top 20 after falling three places to 22nd place, Cook has slipped three places to 24th position after a match contribution of 26 runs and Bopara has dropped eight places to 59th position after scores of 35 and one.

Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan lead a Pakistan 1-2 in the batting table with India’s Gautam Gambhir in third place.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, the only change in the top 20 is England fast bowler Andrew Flintoff who has slipped two places to 19th position.

The bowling list is headed by Sri Lanka’s iconic spinner Muttiah Muralidaran who is likely to concede his number-one spot to South Africa’s Dale Steyn when the latest rankings are released at the end of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders, Flintoff has dropped one place to fifth after figures of 1-128 with the ball and contributions of 37 and 26 with the bat.

Jacques Kallis continues to lead the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders with Mitchell Johnson of Australia in second and New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori third. (ANI)

Dravid among 30 probables for Champions Trophy

Mumbai, July 6 (IANS) Former India skipper Rahul Dravid stands to make it to the one-day squad after two years as the cricket selectors Monday included him among the 30 probables for September’s Champions Trophy in South Africa.
Dravid, whose last ODI was in October 2007 against Australia in Nagpur, was out of the one-day squad after his form slump but retained his place in the Test side.

The selection committee that met in Chennai felt that Dravid’s presence will strengthen the middle-order that is vulnerable to short-pitched delivery as it was proved in the World Twenty20 and the ODI series in the West Indies.

His selection among the probables for the Champions Trophy comes after he performed well during the Indian Premier League (IPL) also in South Africa, where he scored 271 runs from 13 matches at a strike rate of 115.81 for runners-up Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina, who are recuperating from injuries, were selected alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan, who were rested for the ODI series in the West Indies.

Youngters like Ajinkya Rahane, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni and Wriddhiman Saha were also selected amnong the probables.

Probables squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayar, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Munaf Patel, R Ashwin, M Vijay, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni, Subramaniam Badrinath, Ashish Nehra, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Singh, Wridhiman Saha, and Pankaj Singh.

Career best ICC ranking for Yuvraj Singh

Dubai, July 6 (IANS) India’s Yuvraj Singh achieved a career-best second position in the Reliance Mobile International Cricket Council’s rankings for ODI batsmen released Monday.
Yuvraj jumped two places following his good performance against the West Indies that included a century at Kingston.

He is now behind captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has consolidated his number one position after his good showing in the Caribbean. The wicketkeeper-batsman made 41, 95 and 46 not out to walk away with the player of the series award.

Dhoni now leads Yuvraj by a comfortable 44-point margin. Chanderpaul and Gayle have dropped one place each despite a decent series with the bat. Chanderpaul is now in third place after totaling 96 runs in the series while Gayle is fourth.

India opener Gautam Gambhir slipped four places to 20th spot.

In the ODI Championship rankings, India has retained their third place but has dropped a full rating point behind Australia.

Rank Team

1 South Africa

2 Australia

3 India

4 New Zealand

5 Pakistan

6 England

7 Sri Lanka

8 West Indies

9 Bangladesh

10 Zimbabwe

11 Ireland

12 Kenya

Player rankings

1 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Ind)

2 Yuvraj Singh (Ind)

3 S.Chanderpaul (WI)

4 Chris Gayle (WI)

5 Mike Hussey (Aus)

6 AB de Villiers (SA)

7 Virender Sehwag (Ind)

8 Graeme Smith (SA)

9 Herschelle Gibbs (SA)

10 Jacques Kallis (SA)

BCCI announces ICC Champions Trophy 2009 probables

Chennai, July 6 (ANI): The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) senior selection committee today met at the M A Chidambaram Stadium here on Monday and selected the following 30 probables for the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 to be held in South Africa in September this year.

1. M S Dhoni

2. Virender Sehwag

3. Gautam Gambhir

4. Yuvraj Singh

5. Rohit Sharma

6. Sachin Tendulkar

7. Rahul Dravid

8. Suresh Raina

9. Yusuf Pathan

10. Abhishek Nayar

11. Ishant Sharma

12. Zaheer Khan

13. R P Singh

14. Praveen Kumar

15. Harbhajan Singh

16. Pragyan Ojha

17. Ravindra Jadeja

18. Dinesh Karthik

19. Munaf Patel

20. R Ashwin

21. M Vijay

22. Amit Mishra

23. Ajinkya Rahane

24. Dhawal Kulkarni

25. S Badrinath

26. Ashish Nehra

27. Virat Kohli

28. Bhuvneshwar Kumar Singh

29. Wridhiman Saha

30. Pankaj Singh (ANI)

Dhoni misses a hundred but adds 101 with R. P. Singh

Gautam Gambhir Kingston (Jamaica), June 29 (IANS) A painstaking 95 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his defiant 101-run ninth-wicket partnership with Rudra Pratap Singh helped pull India out of a hole and reach a decent 188 after being 82 for eight in the second one-day international against the West Indies here at Sabina Park Sunday.

On a pitch which produced 658 runs in the first one dayer between the two teams barely 48 hours ago, the West Indies new ball bowlers looked a lot more potent with recalled Ravi Rampaul (four for 37) seaming disconcertingly, Jerome Taylor (3 for 35) swinging at a lively pace and Dwayne Bravo (3 for 26) hitting the deck to make the ball bounce sharply. They exploited the moisture in the glossy pitch and exposed the technical ineptitude of the batsmen.

The three bowlers almost ran through the innings which never looked like getting even to cross the 100-run-mark when the eighth wicket fell in the 22nd over, save for a brief while when Yuvraj (35, 33 balls, 5×4, 1×6) and Dhoni (95, 130b, 2×4, 2×6) were together to add 47 runs after the first three batsmen fell for nothing.

In fact, all the six mainline batsmen were consumed behind the stumps, either caught by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin or at slip as the hopped and tentatively prodded at short-pitched deliveries.

Dinesh Karthik’s dismissal was an exception as the opener received a peach of a delivery which he could not help nicking. But both Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma played reckless strokes to get out.

Only Yuvraj Singh, who scored a match-winning century in the first ODI, looked like getting the measure of the attack as he struck 35 off 33 balls but once he got out the innings seemed like collapsing till R.P. Singh joined Dhoni to stem the rot.

Yuvraj was caught behind and so was the other left-hander Ravindra Jadeja. Yusuf Pathan could only guide a short-pitched ball to slip Chris Gayle. When Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar fell, the Indians could not use even half the overs.

Ramdin pouched five catches and easily should have had one more if he had not parried the ball into the hands of slip Runako Morton. Rampaul, who in the closing stages dropped Dhoni on the log-off boundary and propelled the ball on to the boundary picket for six, finished with his best ODI figures.

But Dhoni, playing a real captain’s innings, inspired R.P. Singh (23, 75b, 1×4, 1×6) to stay with him and the two gave their side something to bowl at and save them from an embarrassing collapse. He batted purposefully, shielding R.P. Singh to start with and then allowed him to gain in confidence.

Apart from Dhoni, the other nine batsmen collectively faced ten deliveries more than the 75 played by R. P. Singh. So much so, the left-arm medium-pacer struck a six in the slog overs.

Dhoni richly deserved a century, more so as he had been struggling to play a big knock in recent times. Eventually, he went in the penultimate over as he tried to make room to have a go at Taylor who deceived him to hit the stumps with a slower delivery.

West Indies defeat India by eight wickets, level series

Kingston (Jamaica), June 29 (IANS) West Indies levelled the series 1-1 by defeating India by eight wickets at the second one-day international at Sabina Park Sunday.

The game was dominated by West Indies from the start. A painstaking 95 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his defiant 101-run ninth-wicket partnership with Rudra Pratap Singh helped pull India out of a hole and reach a decent 188 after being 82 for eight.

On a pitch which produced 658 runs in the first one dayer between the two teams barely 48 hours ago, the West Indies new ball bowlers looked a lot more potent with recalled Ravi Rampaul (four for 37) seaming disconcertingly, Jerome Taylor (3 for 35) swinging at a lively pace and Dwayne Bravo (3 for 26) hitting the deck to make the ball bounce sharply. They exploited the moisture in the glossy pitch and exposed the technical ineptitude of the batsmen.

The three bowlers almost ran through the innings which never looked like getting even to cross the 100-run-mark when the eighth wicket fell in the 22nd over, save for a brief while when Yuvraj (35, 33 balls, 5×4, 1×6) and Dhoni (95, 130b, 2×4, 2×6) were together to add 47 runs after the first three batsmen fell for nothing.

In fact, all the six mainline batsmen were consumed behind the stumps, either caught by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin or at slip as he hopped and tentatively prodded at short-pitched deliveries.

Dinesh Karthik’s dismissal was an exception as the opener received a peach of a delivery which he could not help nicking. But both Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma played reckless strokes to get out.

Only Yuvraj Singh, who scored a match-winning century in the first ODI, looked like getting the measure of the attack as he struck 35 off 33 balls but once he got out the innings seemed like collapsing till R.P. Singh joined Dhoni to stem the rot.

Yuvraj was caught behind and so was the other left-hander Ravindra Jadeja. Yusuf Pathan could only guide a short-pitched ball to slip Chris Gayle. When Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar fell, the Indians could not use even half the overs.

Ramdin pouched five catches and easily should have had one more if he had not parried the ball into the hands of slip Runako Morton. Rampaul, who in the closing stages dropped Dhoni on the log-off boundary and propelled the ball on to the boundary picket for six, finished with his best ODI figures.

But Dhoni, playing a real captain’s innings, inspired R.P. Singh (23, 75b, 1×4, 1×6) to stay with him and the two gave their side something to bowl at and save them from an embarrassing collapse. He batted purposefully, shielding R.P. Singh to start with and then allowed him to gain in confidence.

Apart from Dhoni, the other nine batsmen collectively faced ten deliveries more than the 75 played by R. P. Singh. So much so, the left-arm medium-pacer struck a six in the slog overs.

Dhoni richly deserved a century, more so as he had been struggling to play a big knock in recent times. Eventually, he went in the penultimate over as he tried to make room to have a go at Taylor who deceived him to hit the stumps with a slower delivery.

West Indies’ reply was led by fine knocks from Chris Gayle (64, 46b, 8×4,2×6) and Runako Morton (85, 102b, 5×4, 1×6). Gayle and Morton’s 101-run partnership led their team to a comprehensive victory, which was sealed in the 35th over by a six from Morton, who remained not-out.

Ravi Rampaul, who took four wickets for 37 runs, was declared Man of the match.

Brief scores:

India: 188 in 48.2 overs (Dhoni 95, Yuvraj 35, R.P.Singh 23, Rampaul 4 for 37, Taylor 3 for 35, Dwayne Bravo 3 for 26).

West Indies: 192/2 in 34.1 overs (Chris Gayle 64, Runako Morton 85, Rohit Sharma 2 for 27).

Indian cricket team to leave for England today

Mumbai, May 29 (ANI): The Indian cricket team will leave for England on Friday for the second edition of the World T-20 Championship.

Ahead of their departure, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he had a balanced team, which could defend the World Twenty-20 title, which they won in South Africa in 2007.

“I am happy with the balance in our squad. Hopefully, we can defend out title,” he said.

Admitting that cricketers were tired after a hectic Indian Premier League (IPL), he said it helped players a lot in terms of exposure and skills.

“When you play so many matches you do get tired, after all it’s a human body. But IPL provided us with exposure and helped us to learn coping with the pressure of an international event,” he added.

The tournament will start from June 5. India will play its first match against Bangladesh on June 6.

Squad: M S Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag (Vice-Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, R P Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha, Irfan Pathan. (ANI)

Sehwag, Gambhir shine in Delhi Daredevils victory over Mumbai Indians

Centurion, May 21 (ANI): Delhi Daredevils skipper Verender Sehwag and opener Gautam Gambhir led their team to a thumping victory over Mumbai Indians on Thursday.

Delhi Daredevils won the toss and elected to field first.

Mumbai made a shaky start, losing three quick wickets — Sanath Jayasuriya (0), J. P. Duminy (9) and Mohammad Ashraful (2) — as they stuttered to 31 for 3 in the first six overs.endulkar played a captain’s knock and scored 46 off 41 deliveries with eight fours. But best knock of the inning was played by Ajinkya Rahane who scored 56 off 41 deliveries with five fours and two sixes.

Mumbai Indians scored 165 for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs.

Chasing a victory target of 166, Delhi Daredevils got to a cracking start when its openers Gambhir and David Warner scored 36 runs in just 3.3 overs.

The partnership broke when Warner mistimed a Dhawal Kulkarni delivery to Mohammad Asharful’s hand.

After Warner’s departure, Gambhir and Sehwag took their team to a score of 104. Gambhir scored 47 of 38 deliveries with seven fours.

Sehwag played a cracking knock after a long time and hit five fours and two sixes in his 27 balls- 50 runs knock.

For Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan Singh took four wickets. (ANI)

Twenty20 World Cup trophy unveiled in Mumbai

Mumbai, May 12 (ANI): Former Indian cricket captain and ICC ambassador Dilip Vengsarkar has unveiled the trophy of Twenty20 World Cup 2009 in Mumbai.

The silver trophy weighing 7-1/2 kilograms would be handed to the captain of the victorious squad on June 21 at Lord’s.

Impressed by the Indian team’s performance, Vengsarkar was hopeful that India would guard its title.

“Since this is a very good side, all the players are in good form and they are capable of giving their best performance, so they have the best chance to win again…because the World Cup which they won in South Africa…they (get) another chance to go out in England and win the World Cup, they have the potential and I am sure that they will win it,” he said.

Vengsarkar also supported the view of Sports Minister Manohar Singh Gill demanding a ban on the SMS-based ball-to-ball prediction game.

“I agree with Mr. Gill as to what he said. To some extent we should not stoop so low to make money, to market that game via SMS’s because we must maintain the sanctity of cricket and it is very important for me,” he added.

Twelve teams including all test playing nations will participate in the 17-day long T20 World Cup in England starting on June 5.ndian team for the Twenty20 World Cup comprises of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha and Irfan Pathan. (ANI)

80-feet long bat to convey best wishes for Twenty20 World Cup for Indian team

Mumbai, May 11 (ANI): Cricket fans in Mumbai sign up on a huge 80-feet long bat, sending best wishes for the Indian team ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in England beginning next month.

At 80 feet, organizers claim it’s the world’s largest bat ever made. It would need only a superhuman to hold the bat but that’s not what it’s intended to.

Put up on display in Mumbai, the huge bat was thrown open to cricket fans on Sunday to pen their best wishes for the Indian team.

“It is a very innovative way of wishing Indian cricket team. Earlier people used to wish by SMSing. It is a very innovative and useful way of wishing Indian cricket team which even they (the cricket team) won’t be able to ignore,” said Karan Singh, a fan.

“This is an eighty feet long bat which is longest in the country and I feel it would be in the whole world. This is another opportunity where we are trying to engage people with the brand and with the sport so that it comes out as a good fusion,” said Ketan Girap, a sponsor.

India won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 to ensure the game’s newest format gained instant popularity in cricket’s commercial hub.

Indian team for the Twenty20 World Cup in England next month comprises of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha and Irfan Pathan. (ANI)

Abdulla emerging as Proteas Twenty20 specialist bowler

Cape Town (South Africa), May 5 (ANI): Yusuf Abdulla is being looked at as a genuine, specialist Twenty20 bowler.

The 26-year-old Dolphins and Kings XI Punjab left-arm seamer has confirmed as much during the early stages of the Indian Premier League.

Abdulla has carried his domestic form compellingly into the IPL spotlight, putting a disastrous start to the tournament well behind him to become a trump card for the Kings XI attack.

The Delhi Daredevils’ Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag at Newlands flogged the stoutly built customer for 19 runs in a solitary over on IPL debut, reports Sports24.

He was then a little iffy again as his side lost a second match on the trot, to Kolkata Knight Riders at his Kingsmead home venue, with Abdulla going for 20 runs in two overs.

But a turnaround in the Kings XI’s fortunes – victory in each of their next two outings – has been accompanied by a simultaneous, quite dramatic upswing in fortunes for the South African.

His seven dismissals have come at an average of only 13 and economy rate of 8.27 – borderline acceptable in this format anyway, but even better when you consider the punishment he had taken in the first two matches. (ANI)

No surprises as India names T20 World Cup squad

Mumbai, May 04 (ANI): The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the Twenty20 World Cup team on Monday.

The selection committee, headed by Chairman Krishnamachari Srikkanth, named Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the captain of the 15-man squad.

The other players included in the squad are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha and Irfan Pathan.

A preliminary meeting was held in Cape Town on April 24.

The selection committee said they had considered the players’ performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League as well before naming the squad.

However, despite his astounding performance in the IPL so far, Mumbai Indians’ Abhishek Nayar could not make it to the final list.

Other players who were expected to be included were L. Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ajit Agarkar, Robin Uthappa, Joginder Sharma, S. Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla.

The T20 World Cup will start in London on June 5. (ANI)

Delhi Daredevils beat Kings XI by 10 wickets

Cape Town, Apr 19 (ANI): Virender Sehwag’s Delhi Daredevils thrashed Yuvraj Singh’s Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets in a rain truncated Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.

Virender Sehwag won the toss and elected to field first.

Punjab made a flying start and reached to a score of 67 without losing a wicket. Opener Karan Goel hit 38 off 21 balls with three fours and three sixes.

Pressure of quick runs consumed Kumara Sangakkara (8 runs off 11 balls) as well, when the Lankan scooped up a simple catch off Daniel Vettori.

Punjab`s aspiration of mounting a massive score suffered further setbacks in the 11th over of the innings when captain Yuvraj Singh (16 runs off 11 balls), Mahela Jayawardene (six runs off six balls) and Piyush Chawla (0) fell within a space of 4 deliveries without a run being scored.

For Delhi Daredevils, left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori’s bowling was mainly responsible for restricting the Kings XI to 104 for seven in 12 overs. Vettori took three wickets after giving 15 runs.

Chasing a target of 105 runs, Delhi Daredevils opening batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir made the target look very easy, with Sehwag finishing the match with his fourth six in an innings of 38 not out off 16 balls.

Gautam Gambhir supported Sehwag with his 16 runs from 13 balls.

Daniel Vettori was declared ‘Man of the Match’ for his brilliant spell of 3/15. (ANI)

Sehwag likes to bat in middle order

New Delhi, Apr 12 (ANI): Indian opener Virender Sehwag on Sunday said if given a chance, he would prefer to step in as a middle order batsman.

“I was a middle order batsman. I like to bat in middle order. But currently, team demands me to open batting and I am doing so,” Sehwag told reporters on the sidelines of a friendly five-over cricket match between his team and co-opener Gautam Gambhir’s teams here.

Sehwag also revealed that his request to bat in lower down was turned down by the team management.

However, if records are reckoned, Sehwag’s average as an opener is 51.21, as compared to 41.55 when he batted in the middle and lower order.

Sehwag also pointed out that his opening partner Gautam Gambhir was a regular opening batsman.

“Gautam is a regular opener and someone forced me to do the opening. I was a middle order batsman and the team asked me to open the inning. I am not considered as a regular opener. I never opened in first class cricket before opening in Test cricket,” Sehwag added.

Meanwhile, Gambhir said that the bowling of his Delhi Daredevils team is pivotal for his team’s chances of winning this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I think in Twenty20 format having a good bowling is very important. We have good bowlers like Daniel Vettori, Glenn McGrath, Ashish Nehra, Amit Mishra and Mahroof. The conditions in South Africa are going to suit these bowlers. If we set a good target, we have very good chance of winning the IPL this time,” Gambhir said. (ANI)

India tail ensure third test v New Zealand in balance

Harbhajan Singh and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni resurrected India’s innings after tea with half centuries on the first day of the third test against New Zealand to lead them to 375 for nine at the close of play.

The last pair of Ishant Sharma (15) and Munaf Patel (14) were together for the visitors at the close.

Harbhajan scored 60 while Dhoni made 52 as the pair combined for a 79-run partnership to ensure the first day at the Basin Reserve ended in the balance after India had been reduced to 204 for six shortly into the final session.

The pair came together after Rahul Dravid, who had ground his way to 35, fell just after the tea break following New Zealand’s capture of three wickets in the hour before tea to give them the advantage as they sought to level the test series.

Dhoni and Harbhajan, however, threw caution to the wind, slashing at anything short with several shots sailing over the slips or just wide of the exasperated New Zealand fielders.

“It was crucial to contribute lower down the order and if you look at the scoreboard we have got some decent runs,” Harbhajan told reporters.

“When I went into bat it wasn’t the same and thankfully me and Dhoni and all the other guys got some runs.”

India scored 185 runs off 35 for the loss of four wickets in the final session, as Dhoni, Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan (33) hit out.

“We probably let it slip 50 to 60 runs too many there,” New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin said.

“But again they got away with a few lucky shots and the ball didn’t quite go to hand. Sometimes that’s the way it can be with the tail.”

AGGRESSIVE START

Earlier, Virender Sehwag (48) and Gautam Gambhir (23) had been dismissed in quick succession before lunch after making an aggressive start, scoring 65 runs in the first hour.

Sehwag had stroked seven boundaries and a six before he nicked an O’Brien delivery through to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum with the score on 73. Gambhir fell two runs later when he was trapped in front by Franklin.

After lunch Sachin Tendulkar brought up his 53rd test half century, however, he was dismissed shortly after when he got an edge to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum off Martin for 62.

Vangipurappu Laxman, who scored a century in the second innings of the second test in Napier, was caught at second slip by Tim McIntosh for four off Tim Southee.

Part-time bowler Jesse Ryder then had Yuvraj Singh trapped in front for nine to leave the hosts struggling at 190 for five at tea.

India lead the series 1-0 after winning the first test in Hamilton by 10 wickets, while the second match in Napier ended in a draw.

New Zealand seize advantage in third test against India

New Zealand seized the advantage in the third test against India, capturing three wickets including that of Sachin Tendulkar, in the session to reduce the visitors to 190 for five at tea on the first day on Friday.

Rahul Dravid was on 31 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni six after New Zealand captured three wickets in the hour before tea. India had resumed after lunch on 101 for two.

Tendulkar had looked comfortable despite some deliveries from Chris Martin that reared up on him off a length and he brought up his 53rd test half century when he square cut Iain O’Brien to the cover-point fence for his ninth boundary.

He was dismissed shortly after when he got an edge to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum off Martin to be dismissed for 62.

Vangipurappu Laxman, who scored a century in the second innings of the second test in Napier, was caught at second slip by Tim McIntosh off Tim Southee for four, while Yuvraj Singh was trapped in front by Jesse Ryder for nine.

Virender Sehwag (48) and Gautam Gambhir (23) were dismissed in quick succession before lunch after making an aggressive start, scoring 65 runs in the first hour.

Sehwag had stroked seven boundaries and a six before he nicked an O’Brien delivery through to McCullum with the score on 73. Gambhir fell two runs later when he was trapped in front by James Franklin.

India lead the series 1-0 after winning the first test in Hamilton by 10 wickets, while the second match in Napier ended in a draw.

New Zealand slow India’s scoring rate after two quick wickets

India made a breezy start to the third and final test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve on Friday, before they lost two quick wickets to reach 101 for two at lunch on the first day.

Virender Sehwag (48) and Gautam Gambhir (23) were the batsmen dismissed after they had raced to 65 for none within the first hour. Rahul Dravid (nine) and Sachin Tendulkar (16) were not out at the break.

Sehwag had stroked seven boundaries and a six before he nicked an Iain O’Brien delivery through to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum with the score on 73.

The right hander was particularly brutal on swing bowler Tim Southee, scoring 27 of his runs off the 20-year-old, who conceded 40 runs from his first six-over spell.

Gambhir fell with the score on 75 when he was trapped in front by a James Franklin delivery that swung back.

Sehwag and Gambhir’s onslaught meant New Zealand did not bowl a maiden until the 18th over of the innings.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori had won the toss and elected to field, bringing in Southee for offspinner Jeetan Patel while Daniel Flynn also returned after recovering from a hand injury sustained in the first test.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni returned from a back injury for India, who lead the series 1-0 after winning the first test in Hamilton by 10 wickets.

The second match in Napier ended in a draw.

Patel’s frustrating wait to play for Kiwis continues

Wellington, Apr 5 (ANI): New Zealand coach Andy Moles has rubbished suggestions that Jeetan Patel should be picked regardless of whether a pitch favours spinners or seamers.

“We always look at the surface first and the team is selected based on that. Jeetan bowled really well in Napier and there’s no doubting that when the wicket suits two spinners, we are lucky to have someone of his quality ready to play,” Moles told Sunday News.

Despite being New Zealand’s best bowler in the second test at McLean Park in Napier, Patel who snared four wickets including the prized scalps of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir was considered surplus to requirements for the final test in Wellington.

Patel said that it has been extremely frustrating, especially in the last six months or so.

“I just haven’t been able to play much cricket and even though I’m working hard and doing my stuff behind the scenes, if you’re not playing it can be very hard to gauge where you are at.

“I’m always dirty when I get left out of the side even if the pitch is an ugly green one. I hate not playing. It’s my job and it’s what I spend all week training to do,” he added.

Tim Southee, who struggled to contain the Indian batsmen from the outset, replaced Patel in the side.

In recent weeks, the spinner from Wellington has been backed by a number of former players and last week Sunday News cricket analyst Simon Doull said “Patel should be picked in every test.” (ANI)

Zaheer’s fiery five wicket haul puts India on top in Basin Reserve Test

Wellington, Apr.4 (ANI): An inspired performance by Zaheer Khan on the second day helped India tighten its grip on the third and final Test here.

Khan produced a stupendous spell of fast bowling claiming five wickets for just 65 runs, which handed over India an important lead of 182 runs, as New Zealand was bowled out for a paltry 197 in their first innings.

Khan along with Harbhajan Singh, who grabbed three wickets for 43 runs, made sure that the Kiwis would not close in on the Indian total of 379.

None of the New Zealand batsman had answers to Khan’s seaming and bouncing deliveries, barring Ross Taylor, who showed some resistance during his knock of 42. Opener Tim McIntosh also looked uncomfortable in the middle, but was the second top scorer for the Kiwis in making 32 runs.

India’s second innings, however, started off disastrously as Sehwag lofted a Chris Martin’s delivery into Ross Taylor’s hand.

Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir ensured no further damage, and at the end of day two India was 233 runs ahead.

Dravid was on nine while Gambhir was on 24 with four boundaries.

With India in commanding position, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni may well become the first Indian captain to lead the team to a series win in New Zealand after 35 years. (ANI)

New Zealand slow India’s scoring rate after two quick wickets

India made a breezy start to the third and final test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve on Friday, before they lost two quick wickets to reach 101 for two at lunch on the first day.

Virender Sehwag (48) and Gautam Gambhir (23) were the batsmen dismissed after they had raced to 65 for none within the first hour. Rahul Dravid (nine) and Sachin Tendulkar (16) were not out at the break.

Sehwag had stroked seven boundaries and a six before he nicked an Iain O’Brien delivery through to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum with the score on 73.

The right hander was particularly brutal on swing bowler Tim Southee, scoring 27 of his runs off the 20-year-old, who conceded 40 runs from his first six-over spell.

Gambhir fell with the score on 75 when he was trapped in front by a James Franklin delivery that swung back.

Sehwag and Gambhir’s onslaught meant New Zealand did not bowl a maiden until the 18th over of the innings.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori had won the toss and elected to field, bringing in Southee for offspinner Jeetan Patel while Daniel Flynn also returned after recovering from a hand injury sustained in the first test.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni returned from a back injury for India, who lead the series 1-0 after winning the first test in Hamilton by 10 wickets.

The second match in Napier ended in a draw.