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Page last updated at 07:06 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

India maintain advantage over NZ

First Test, Hamilton (day two, close):
New Zealand 279 v India 278-4
Match scorecard

Sachin Tendulkar cuts against New Zealand
Sachin Tendulkar's knock featured 11 boundaries from 135 deliveries

Three half-centuries ensured India were in a position to build a substantial first-innings lead on day two of the first Test against New Zealand.

The tourists finished on 278-4, one run behind New Zealand's total, before bad light halted play in Hamilton.

Gautam Gambhir (72) and Rahul Dravid (66) put on 105 for the second wicket, while Sachin Tendulkar (70 not out) is on course for his 42nd Test century.

Paceman Chris Martin (2-53) was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers.

"I think the surface is (worth) a little bit more than three runs per over so we were pretty happy with containment," said Martin.

With Tendulkar in imperious form in his 157th Test, accompanied by the destructive Yuvraj Singh with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni still to come, India look set to build a significant advantage on day three.

They resumed the day on 29-0, but lost Virender Sehwag in the third over calling for a second run after Gambhir had pushed a Kyle Mills delivery past gully.

A brilliant direct hit from James Franklin caught the free-flowing opener well short of his ground, sparking scenes of jubilation among the Black Caps fielders.

Sehwag's dismissal brought the arrival of Rahul Dravid, who, alongside Gambhir, consolidated after the early wicket to guide India to 108-1 at the lunch break.

Gambhir was fortunate to survive a certain lbw appeal when Mills was called for a no-ball with his first delivery of the day, but took advantage of his leg-off to bring up his 10th Test half century.


But his encouraging innings ended in the 42nd over when he edged Martin to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, attempting to turn a reverse-swinging delivery to square leg.

Dravid brought up his 54th Test fifty soon after Tendulkar's arrival, cracking his 10th boundary before a superb Iain O'Brien delivery dissected bat and pad to uproot his off stump.

"You always felt you were never really in, you had to work hard for your runs," said Dravid. "I got a pretty good one when the ball was 60 overs old."

Tendulkar had made 13 when he top-edged a mis-timed pull, but Daniel Flynn could not make enough ground in time running backwards at midwicket to cling on to the catch.

The hosts then saw O'Brien drop a difficult chance on the boundary when new batsman VVS Laxman was on 15.

But the languid strokemaker was back in the pavilion 15 runs later when a lazy push outside off stump flew to Ross Taylor, who took a good catch moving to his left.

Despite the upheaval, Tendulkar collected his 52nd Test half century with a sumptuous back-foot cover drive for four.

And he remains on course for yet another three-figure score when play resumes on day three, accompanied by Yuvraj on eight.

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see also
Sehwag stars as India romp to win
11 Mar 09 |  New Zealand
India win rain-affected one-dayer
03 Mar 09 |  International Teams
India in New Zealand 2009
15 Jan 09 |  Cricket

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