Harbhajan and Laxman defy New Zealand in Ahmedabad

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Harbhajan and Laxman defy New Zealand in Ahmedabad

Post  nirvana on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:57 am


First Test, Ahmedabad (day five):
India 487 & 266 drew with New Zealand 459 & 22-1
Match scorecard

A fan embraces Harbhajan as he registers his century
Harbhajan Singh hit a maiden first-class century as he and VVS Laxman defiantly thwarted New Zealand's hopes of a rare Test win in India.
In the first of three Tests, India started the final day on 82-6, leading by just 110 after seamer Chris Martin had taken out five top-order batsman.
But Laxman (91) and Harbhajan (115) could not be parted, batting deep into the second session and adding 163 runs.
India were finally all out for 266, New Zealand responding with 22-1 in a draw.
After Martin had bowled with tremendous skill either side of tea on Sunday, his team looked on course to repeat the heroics of John Wright's side in 1988, the last New Zealand side to triumph in a Test match in India.
When play began on Monday, they still needed to separate Laxman, a past master of salvage missions, and Harbhajan - more noted for his off-spin but a man who had shown batting form in the first innings with an important 69.
Up until the start of this match, that had been the 30-year-old's best effort in 88 Test matches, but he surpassed it in the second innings by batting for four and a half hours hours before top-edging a low full toss from Ross Taylor to short fine-leg.
Initially, he and Laxman survived the odd minor alarm to bat until lunch and beyond, with the slow, low bounce on a wearing pitch that remained docile not helping New Zealand.

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A handful of edges from Harbhajan's bat failed to carry to catchers, and he was dropped by Martin off his own bowling on 93.
As the two batsmen chased each other to their centuries, Laxman appeared set to bat all day, but after looking rock solid for nearly six hours he was given out lbw by umpire Steve Davis despite a big inside edge off the bowling of Daniel Vettori.
Zaheer Khan went in similar fashion next ball, albeit from a less obvious inside edge, but at 228-8 India led by 256 and were in no danger of defeat with barely a session remaining.
Harbhajan shrugged off the double setback by waltzing down the wicket to launch Vettori over wide long-off for six and reach his century in the ultimate style. It came from 165 balls with 10 fours and two sixes.
After tea, New Zealand took the final two wickets, and their batsmen faced 10 overs before the captains agreed on an early draw.
That was enough time for Zaheer to remove Tim McIntosh for a duck, the Black Caps opener completing an unwelcome pair.





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