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Gambhir, Laxman secure draw for India

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India have drawn the Napier Test after having their backs to the wall for three days. Gautam Gambhir led the way with a 643-minute long innings, the rest of the batsmen gave him support all the way. The final day saw Gambhir doing his bit which was followed up by a neat hundred from VVS Laxman, both giving no chance for the Kiwis.

Morning Session: Tendulkar goes early to give NZ hope

New Zealand struck early in the morning when Sachin Tendulkar got lured into a loose drive off Chris Martin to be caught in the slips. Tendulkar perished for 64 (from 131 balls with 9 fours and a six), his partnership with Gambhir was worth 97 in about 39 overs. Fortunately for India, Gambhir decided to stay focused in batting out time and his new partner VVS Laxman was just tight enough to deny any further success in the rest of the session for the Kiwis. India went into lunch at 306 for 3 in 137 overs with Gambhir slowly moving onto 119 and Laxman on 30.

Afternoon Session: Match coasting towards a draw

Gambhir and Laxman batted through the first hour comfortably and it was once again a tight umpiring decision that gave a breakthrough for the Kiwis. Gautam Gambhir was given out lbw in the 160th over when he got hit on the pad by a Jeetan Patel delivery from round the sticks, according to the Hawk Eye, the ball was just hitting the legstump. Gambhir scored only 137 (with 18 fours) but what was important that he negotiated as many as 436 balls in an incredibly patient knock from a naturally aggressive batsman. Gambhir’s partnership with Laxman was worth 96 in 40.1 overs, when he left the ground, India were in with a lead of 42.

The Kiwis didn’t find any joy in the rest of the session as Yuvraj Singh was a lot better in his shot selection while Laxman was in no mood of throwing away an easy hundred. India went to Tea at 397 for 4 in 167 overs with Laxman on 77 and Yuvraj Singh on 22. The Kiwis had taken the third new ball in this session.

Final Session: Match ends in a draw

It looked as if the Kiwis had resigned to the fate at the start of the session itself. The bowling was too weak and the pair of Laxman and Yuvraj cashed onto that. Laxman stroked his way to a hundred and Yuvraj got himself a confidence boosting fifty. The match was ended a little over an hour to go to close with India at 476 for 4 in 180 overs. VVS Laxman remained unbeaten on 124 (from 212 balls with 25 fours) and Yuvraj Singh on 54 (from 63 balls with 10 fours). It was a great escape for Team India and they carry their 1-0 lead into the third and final Test at Wellington. For his double century, Jesse Ryder got the Man of the Match.

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