Stylish opener Gautam Gambhir helped himself to a strokeful 167 to lead India to a powerful second innings lead of 531 at the end of just the third day’s play. India finished the day at 349 for 5 in just 97.5 overs and it looks like they are still going to bat on the next day before the inevitable declaration.
Morning Session: Gambhir, Dravid bat through the session
Resuming at an overnight score of 51 for 1, India went through the entire session without losing a single wicket. Gautam Gambhir inched towards his 6th test hundred, he moved onto 96 and his partner Rahul Dravid got to 57. The Indians eased their way to 170 for 1 in 46 overs with a total of 119 runs coming in 30 overs.
Afternoon Session: India continue to put Kiwis under the sun
The Kiwis had a couple of joyful moments in the post lunch session when they got the wickets of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in succession. Those two wickets pulled things back as an otherwise aggressive Gambhir calmed himself down to work towards another big partnership, this time with VVS Laxman. The wicket of Rahul Dravid went down through a stunning piece of wicket keeping from McCullum. Dravid had thought that he had played a smart paddle to fine leg but the man behind the stumps already hacked the batsman’s mind to convert the shot into a mind boggling catch down the legside. Dravid fell for 65 (from 145 balls with 10 fours), his partnership with Gambhir was 170. Vettori added one more wicket in his tally when he got one to turn and bounce to catch a rare edge from Tendulkar (9) to the slip. This was after the little master had shown his intentions after hoisting the same bowler for a majestic six.
After those two wickets fell down, Gautam Gambhir for some reason decided to bat with care in the presence of Laxman to take India at 269 for 3 in 77 overs. Gambhir consolidated his score to 151 and Laxman warmed himself with 29 by Tea and the lead was more than enough at 451.
Final Session: Gambhir misses an easy double hundred
The final session broke the heart of Gautam Gambhir with Iain O’Brien striking gold with the second new ball to deny the left hander a double century. Gambhir had to settle with 167 which came at a healthy strike rate of 64.98 (from 257 balls with 16 fours and 2 sixes). O’Brien produced another lovely delivery, this one could well be the ball of the match as it came back off the seam to sneak through the bat pad gap of Laxman to hit the timber. Laxman by then had already come up with a good score of 61 (from 109 balls with 9 fours).
The day came to an early close with India at 349 for 5 in 97.5 overs. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni are the two unbeaten batsmen on 15 and 16 respectively. The reason for the early finish was because the scheduled start was pushed back by an hour to keep up with end of the Daylight savings in New Zealand.