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The second test between India and New Zealand at Bangalore is brilliantly poised with the hosts ending the day at 283-5, trailing the Kiwis by 82 runs in the first innings. India started the day well to skittle New Zealand out for 365, but soon found themselves in serious trouble at 80-4. Virat Kohli (93*) proved to be the class act in the Indian line-up one again today, sharing in two crucial partnerships, adding 99 runs with Suresh Raina (55) and then 104 runs unbeaten with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (46*) to steer India to a position of relative safety. However, with just 2 overs left before the new ball becomes available tomorrow morning, the first hour of day 3 could play a pivotal role in determining which way this test match is going to swing.
India would have been a relieved side on the opening morning of the second day of the Bangalore Test. After having chased leather for the better part of Day 1, they were able to curtail the New Zealand innings for 365, taking the last four wickets to fall for the addition of just 37 more runs to the overnight score.
Kruger van Wyk, who after a patchy start, really came into his own in the final session of Day 1, added just 8 runs to his overnight score to fall for 71, caught by a diving Suresh Raina at second slip off Zaheer Khan. In Khan's next over, Doug Bracwell was unfortunate to be run for 43, as the bowler deflected a firm drive back onto the stumps with the allrounder guilty of having backed-up too far.
Umesh Yadav then got into the act, picking up his first wicket of the innings by removing Jeetan Patel for naught before Pragyan Ojha came on to pick up his 5th of the innings, trapping Tim Southee leg before for 14 with a jaffer that pitched on middle and leg and would have hit off-stump.
New Zealand's innings had lasted not even 9 overs this morning, and India were back in business.
The Indian batting though was about to be severely tested as New Zealand's seamers got some nice movement in overcast conditions. Virender Sehwag survived a couple of loud appeals for leg before and caught behind, and continued to live dangerously right through the session, as the odd gorgeous drive through the covers was interspersed with thick edges that didn't come to hand.
Gautam Gambhir was gifted a life when Brendon McCullum dropped a sitter in the slips, but failed to make the most of it with Tim Southee getting his man bowled for 2 while shouldering arms to a straight delivery.
Cheteshwar Pujara, a centurion in the first test, failed to make the most of his good form, and was caught in the deep attempting to hook Southee into the stands. He made 9.
Sehwag (39*) and Sachin Tendulkar, who made a uncharacteristic 4 from 41 balls, saw India through to lunch at 63-2.
In the very first over after the interval, Sehwag struck a boundary through square-leg, and then attempted to follow it up with one through mid-wicket, but failed to keep his shot down and was well caught by Daniel Flynn off Doug Bracewell.
The allrounder was having a dream game, and followed up the dismissal of Sehwag by knocking over Sachin Tendulkar for 17 in his next over, bowling the maestro through the gate, knocking back his middle stump.
Suresh Raina came out at no.6 to join Virat Kohli, and the two youngster got together to resurrect the innings. Raina started off scoring at a quick pace, but was looking far from comfortable in a format of the game that continues to look alien to him.
However, the young duo battled on and brought up their 50 partnership off just 65 balls with Raina getting the bulk of the runs. He was fortunate to be given a reprieve having been stumped off a no-ball.
Raina soon also reached a personal landmark, getting to his half-century in 79 balls. By tea, India had made their way to 168-4 with Raina and Kohli (33*) having added 88 runs for the fifth wicket.
Just like they did in the last session, New Zealand struck right at the start of this one too, removing Raina for 55, less than four overs into the resumption of play. It was Tim Southee who did the damage once again, making his selection for this game look like a rather inspired decision.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni came out to join Virat Kohli, and India once again went about the job of rebuilding the innings, but this time opting to do it with some counter attacking cricket. Kohli brought up his half-century soon, while Dhoni raced to 29 at quicker than a run a ball as India reached 222-5 at the drinks break.
The partnership continued to blossom towards the end of the day as the Kiwi seamers failed to get any reverse swing with the ball not really getting scuffed up due to the nature of the wicket and outfield in Bangalore. Kohli was looking good for another test century, benefiting from an outside edge from a full blooded drive dropping just short of Ross Taylor at slip with the batsman on 79.
Kohli (93*) and Dhoni (46*) survived through till the end of play, taking the Indian score along to 283-5, 82 shy of the New Zealand total. Both men will be looking to notch up personal landmarks tomorrow and help India squeeze out some sort of a first innings lead. The Kiwis though will be aware that should they be able to pick up some early wickets with the new ball, they could well do to India what they in turn did to them this morning, and force a premature end to their innings.
The match is brilliantly poised, and one hopes that the weather continues to be kind to the cricket fans in Bangalore tomorrow.
India: V Sehwag, G Gambhir, C Pujara, S Tendulkar, V Kohli, S Raina, MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Z Khan, P Ojha, U Yadav
New Zealand: M Guptil, B McCullum, K Williamson, R Taylor, D Flynn/BJ Watling, J Franklin, T Boult, K Van Wyk, D Bracewell, J Patel, T Southee
New Zealand: 365 all out (81.3 overs, 4.02rpo)
K van Wyk 71 (100) P Ojha 5-99
R Taylor 113 (127) Z Khan 2-83
India: 283/5 (78overs, 3.63rpo)
V Kohli 93* (173) T Southee 3-35
S Raina 55 (90) D Bracewell 2-66
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- 02/09/2012 08:39 - New Zealand take 244 run lead into Day 4 of Bangalore Test, 1 wicket still in hand