HAMILTON, New Zealand, (Reuters) – Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid safely guided India to a comfortable 10-wicket victory over New Zealand on the fourth day of the first test at Seddon Park yesterday.
Gambhir finished on 30 not out, while Dravid was on eight after Harbhajan Singh had ripped through New Zealand’s second innings with figures of six for 63 to set up the win — their first in New Zealand since 1976.
India had scored 520 in their first innings, anchored by man of the match Sachin Tendulkar’s 160, and New Zealand needed to make at least 241 to force the Indians to bat a second time.
However they collapsed to 216 for eight at tea on the fourth day, and it was only a stubborn 76-run ninth wicket partnership between Brendon McCullum (84) and Iain O’Brien (14) that allowed the hosts to give India a small target to chase.
New Zealand had started the day in dire straits at 75 for three and their hopes of forcing the game into a final day ended when Harbhajan ripped through their batting, capturing five wickets for 45 runs before tea.
Any hopes of a miracle appeared dashed when they lost Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder in the morning to limp to lunch on 146-5 then three more wickets by tea.
Taylor batted for almost an hour for just four runs before his concentration gave way and he departed with the total on 110, deflecting a wide delivery from paceman Munaf Patel to Virender Sehwag at gully.
First innings centurion Ryder then tried to raise the tempo with a quick 21 off 27 balls, featuring two boundaries and a six, before he was trapped by Harbhajan.
Harbhajan picked up all three wickets to fall in the middle session to complete his 23rd five-wicket haul in tests.
McCullum and O’Brien, however, frustrated the Indian bowlers for 100 minutes and inched their way past 241 to make the tourists bat again.