Gambhir's ton puts India in command
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 5th April 2009
India were 349/5 in their second innings at stumps on the third day of the third and final Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington. Stumps were called early due to bad light when India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Yuvraj Singh (15) were at the crease. India lead New Zealand by 531 runs.
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman fell to the second new ball in quick succession to leave India at 319/5. Iain O'Brien took his second wicket when he clean bowled Laxman with a sharp incoming delivery that went through the gap to rattle Laxman's off-stump. Laxman hit 9 fours in his 61-run knock. In his previous over, O'Brien ended Gambhir's fantastic innings by trapping him plumb in front of the wicket. O'Brien pitched it up and Gambhir missed the line of the delivery while playing across the line as his pad came between the ball and the wickets.
Gambhir struck 2 sixes and 16 fours in his 167-run knock and added 106 with Laxman for the fourth wicket. This was soon after Laxman achieved his 39th half-century through his 8th four that he hit to the third man fence. Before tea, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori dismissed Sachin Tendulkar to reduce India to 208/3. The breakthrough came when Tendulkar went forward to play a defensive shot but edged to first slip where Ross Taylor took a sharp catch diving to his right. Tendulkar hit a six in his 9-run knock. This was soon after India lost Rahul Dravid to be at 184/2.
In the third over after lunch by Vettori, Dravid went down on one knee to play the sweep, wicket keeper Brendon McCullum moved to his left even before Dravid executed the shot and took the catch. Dravid hit 10 fours in his 60-run knock and added 170 runs with Gambhir for the second wicket.
Gambhir achieved his second century of the series in the second over after lunch by Tim Southee by coming down the pitch and hitting through the covers for his 13th four. Gambhir and Dravid took India to 170/1 at lunch. Dravid achieved his 57th half-century, the fourth of the series, when he hit Vettori for his 9th four. Dravid had earlier brought up his 100-run partnership with Gambhir with a boundary through the covers. This is the 76th 100-run partnership that Dravid has been involved in, 4 more than Ricky Ponting and 5 more than Sachin Tendulkar. The day's play started with Gambhir and Dravid resuming the Indian second innings at 51/1. The match started an hour late according to Indian Standard Time due to saving daylight in New Zealand.