20 Mar 2009

Ton for Tendulkar as India take control

7:32 pm on 20 March 2009

Star batsman Sachin Tendulkar scored 160 for his 42nd test century to guide India to a dominant position at the end of the third day of the first cricket Test against New Zealand on Friday.

New Zealand were 75 for three in the second innings, 166 runs behind India who were bowled out just before the tea break for 520 in reply to New Zealand's 279.

The New Zealanders made a disastrous start to their second innings in Hamilton with opener Tim McIntosh controversially caught at first slip by Tendulkar off the third ball for a duck.

Television replays suggested the ball may have bounced just in front of Tendulkar before he closed his hands around the ball. He immediately left the field to receive treatment on a cut to his hand.

Debutant Martin Guptill (48) and Daniel Flynn combined for a 68-run second wicket stand before Guptill threw his wicket away in sight of his first test half century when he smashed a Harbhajan Singh half volley to Virender Sehwag.

New Zealand's crisis deepened when night watchman Kyle Mills, who lasted 19 balls in the fading light, was trapped in front by Munaf Patel for two on the last ball of the day.

Flynn was left on 24 not out and will be joined at the crease on Saturday by Ross Taylor with New Zealand's last three specialist batsmen in Flynn, Taylor and Jesse Ryder needing to bat the entire day to avoid a heavy loss within four days.

Powerful batting line-up

Tendulkar had anchored India's powerful batting line-up to an imposing total.

Resuming on 278 for four, just one run behind New Zealand's first innings, Yuvraj Singh (22) was the only wicket to fall in the morning session when he shouldered arms to a Chris Martin delivery and was bowled.

Tendulkar and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni combined for a century stand until the afternoon session before Dhoni was caught behind by Brendon McCullum for 47 when an Iain O'Brien bouncer brushed his gloves.

Dhoni had survived a chance earlier in the over when Jesse Ryder appeared to pull off a brilliant diving catch in the gully, though television replays showed the ball had touched the ground just before he got his hand under it.

Tendulkar, who had brought up his 150 shortly before Dhoni was dismissed, did not last much longer when O'Brien had him playing at a short ball outside off stump and he was caught by Taylor at first slip.

New Zealand's hopes of wrapping up the tail quickly ended with several dropped catches and Zaheer's swashbuckling innings of 51 not out, which helped the final three wickets add 77 runs.