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Sunday, November 14, 2010

NZ series - Harbhajan pulls India ahead in Hyderabad

Harbhajan Singh at Adelaide Oval WikipediaIndia managed to lose the initiative gained due to Sehwag's start yesterday, thanks to tight bowling and taut fielding by the Black Caps. The Indians were held under pressure most of the day, resulting in the fall of regular wickets. In fact, the first session after tea offered the rewards to the NZ team but Harbhajan had other ideas.

The off-spinner is in the richest form of his life (with the bat) and more importantly, he is cashing on the windfall. He even rotated the strike like a top-order batsman and put together with Sreesanth, a 50+ partnership for the last wicket. Who knows - if he continues his form tomorrow, he will have another century to his credit tomorrow.

Before his innings, the Indians had made progress thanks to the innings of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid in the morning. Sachin Tendulkar, again feeling the pressures of nearing his 50th ton, falling early to Vettori (thanks to a great reflex catch by Ross Taylor). The scoring rate was low but Rahul and VVS had no other escape routes. They ground the bowling to an extent that the latter batsmen could capitalise later in the day. Everyone at the ground expected VVS to score a century on his home ground but he was beaten for pace.

Raina and MS Dhoni could not continue with the run-scoring because of the fielding/bowling. Dhoni's batting has slipped a little even though his batting in ODIs has not been affected. He needs to play his shots and forget the fact that it is a test match format he is playing. That might help him in the future.

Vettori has to be credited for his perseverance and hard-work throughout the day. His captaincy was on cards but the limited bowling resources meant that he had to face a long day on the field. The fielding led by Brendon Mccullum was top-notch - the wicket-keeper joining AB De Viliers, Dinesh Karthick as the group of  ex-keepers who are the best fielders in their teams. 

India gained an advantage over the NZ team mainly in the last session - the Indians clearly having a one session advantage thanks to Harbhajan's heroics. 

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