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Tuesday, Sep 22nd

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Rahane maiden Test ton takes India to 438, New Zealand 24-1 in 2nd Innings

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India have given themselves every chance of levelling their 2-match Test series against New Zealand, not to mention registering their first win on what has been a diabolical tour, thanks to a fantastic stroke filled century from Ajinkya Rahane at Wellington today. The rookie right hander notched up his first Test ton and in the company of skipper MS Dhoni (68) added 120 runs for the 7th wicket to rescue India from a perilous position of 228-6 to take a first innings lead well in excess of 200 runs.

Resuming the day at 100-2, trailing the Kiwis by 92 runs, India had a stop start morning with Shikhar Dhawan (98) and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (26) frustrating the hosts, taking the score to 141 before Boult had Sharma caught behind. Dhawan fell to Tim Southee a few overs later, also caught behind, two short of back to back test hundreds.

A couple of overs later, Rohit Sharma continued his blow-hot blow-cold tour by dragging a very wide and full James Neesham delivery back onto his stumps to be dismissed for naught.

India's prodigal son Virat Kohli was joined in the middle by Rahane, and the duo added 63 for the 6th wicket before the former was caught at short cover for 38, playing a lose shot and falling into the offside trap set just for him. Kohli's dismissal brought Dhoni to the crease and he took on his typical counter attacking approach to the game, scoring at a fair clip. Rahane meanwhile was playing like a picture-book number 6, putting the bad balls away with unerring precision, and showing his full array of shots.

Dhoni's essay ended for 68 when he was caught down the legside, having shuffled too far across his stumps and failing to make sufficient contact to a delivery that was eventually on top of middle stump!

Ravindra Jadeja came out next and smashed the ball to all parts, showing scant regard for Rahane, who was nearing his ton. Jadeja made a breezy 26 from just 16 balls before getting caught in the slips. Rahane was on 90 when Jadeja was the 8th man out and Zaheer Khan made the uncomfortable walk in.

Having thrown his wicket away in South Africa when running short of partners, Rahane seemed to learn from the experience and this time did notch up his maiden test ton, getting to the landmark with a pull through midwicket. The youngster then decided to throw his bat around and was eventually dismissed for 118 thanks to a fantastic one-handed diving catch by Trent Boult. Zaheer too made a brisk 22 before he was the last man dismissed as India were bowled out for 438, taking a lead of 246 runs.

New Zealand had half an hour to survive before the close of play, but made a nightmare start to their innings, losing Peter Fulton for 1, leg before to a Zaheer Khan delivery that just nipped back a tad. Hamish Rutherford (18*) and Kane Williamson (4*) saw the hosts through to the close of play at 24-1.

India are 222 runs ahead with three full days left to play in this Test match.

Mini Scorecard:

1st innings

New Zealand 192 all out (52.4 overs, 3.63 rpo)

K Williamson 47(100) I Sharma 6/51

J Neesham 33(35) M Shami 4/70

India 438 all out (102.4 overs, 4.26 rpo)

S Dhawan 98 (127) T Boult 3/99

A Rahane 118 (158) N Wagner 3/106

2nd innings

New Zealand 24/1 (9 overs, 0.5rpo)

H Rutherford 18* (32) Z Khan 1-7