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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 10:07 UK

India close in on Wellington win

Third Test, Wellington (day four, close):
India 379 & 434-7 dec v New Zealand 197 & 167-4
Match scorecard

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan took two wickets to help India's victory push

India moved to within touching distance of winning the third Test against New Zealand but could see their hopes dashed by bad weather in Wellington.

The tourists, who resumed on 349-5, set New Zealand an unlikely victory target of 617 after declaring on 434-7.

They then restricted the Kiwis to 167-4 when bad light ended play early on day four at the Basin Reserve.

New Zealand require a further 450 runs to win, with Ross Taylor unbeaten on 69 and James Franklin 26 not out.

But with rain expected, India may be forced to settle for a 1-0 series win - their first Test series triumph on New Zealand soil since 1968 - after they won the Hamilton Test by 10 wickets and drew in Napier.

Zaheer Khan, who took 5-65 in the first innings, and Harbhajan Singh got two wickets apiece, while Rahul Dravid passed Mark Waugh's record of 181 catches in Tests when he took a low catch at third slip to combine with Zaheer for Tim McIntosh's wicket before lunch.

India batted for just over an hour at the start of the day to push their lead beyond the 600-run mark as captain Mahendra Dhoni finished with an unbeaten 56 and Zaheer ended 18 not out.

You can't pray for rain to get you out of a sticky situation - we've got a fight on our hands and that's something we've got to stand up to

New Zealand vice-captain Brendon McCullum

The visitors added 85 runs to their overnight score but lost the wickets of Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan in the process.

Yuvraj provided most of the entertainment as he raced from his overnight score of 15 to 40, with Iain O'Brien going for three consecutive fours and a six in one over, before edging Chris Martin to Taylor in the slips.

Harbhajan fell for no score - also to Martin - before Dhoni brought up his half-century with a single off James Franklin and a couple of overs later he declared.

Zaheer bowled a 15-over spell that was only broken by the lunch interval and claimed his first wicket late in the morning session when McIntosh edged to Dravid, and after the break Daniel Flynn (10) edged onto his thigh then the stumps to give Zaheer his second scalp at 54-2.

Taylor had a lucky escape on nine when he was given out, caught by Gautam Gambhir off Harbhajan, by umpire Simon Taufel. But after consultation with fellow umpire Daryl Harper, the catch was referred to third umpire Tony Hill and the right-hander was recalled as there was too much doubt as to whether or not the ball had touched the ground.


Taylor made the most of the opportunity and went on to score his fifth Test half century and put on an important 83-run partnership with Franklin.

Harbhajan took the other two wickets in quick succession, Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder departing within three balls.

Guptill was dismissed one run shy of his maiden Test half century but improved on his previous highest score of 48 and Ryder went for a duck, edging to Dravid to give the Indian veteran his 183rd catch.

New Zealand vice-captain Brendon McCullum said his side would not be relying on the weather to save them.

"You can't pray for rain or you can't expect rain to get you out of a sticky situation," he said. "I think, for us, if we find ourselves waking up in the morning with a big blue sky overhead then we've got a fight on our hands and that's something we've got to stand up to.

"We've got to believe we can save the Test. We obviously haven't found ourselves in the ideal situation but tomorrow's an opportunity for guys to stand up and show some character.

"If we can get out of this Test match with a draw, while it's not the desired result and we know we won't win the series or even level it, we have shown some character and that should stand us in good stead."

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see also
Dravid breaks world catch record
06 Apr 09 |  South Asia
India take control against Kiwis
04 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Late rally gives India the edge
03 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Laxman century earns India draw
30 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Harbhajan spins India to victory
21 Mar 09 |  Cricket
India in New Zealand 2009
23 Mar 09 |  Cricket

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