Ryder, Taylor tons guide NZ to strong position

NAPIER, New Zealand, (Reuters) – Ross Taylor and  Jesse Ryder combined for a record 271-run partnership to help  New Zealand recover from a disastrous start and reach 351 for  four at the end of the first day of the second test against  India yesterday.

Taylor (151) and Ryder (137 not out) had come together at  23-3 within the first hour when Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma  destroyed New Zealand’s top order after the hosts had won the  toss and opted to bat on a good wicket at McLean Park.

The pair, however, rescued the hosts with their  partnership, surpassing the record for any New Zealand wicket  against India after tea. Mark Richardson and Lou Vincent scored  231 for the first wicket in Mohali in Oct. 2003.

James Franklin survived a dropped catch by Yuvraj Singh in  the slips and three confident lbw shouts in the final few overs  of the day to remain with Ryder at stumps on 26 not out.

“We knew it was a pretty good wicket once the new ball lost  its shine, we knew if we played straight…it’s a pretty fast  scoring ground,” Taylor told reporters.

“You don’t often get 350 on the first day. It’s something  for the team to be proud of but we know it’s only half the job  done. We probably need 500-550 to be competitive.”

India, who won the first test in Hamilton by 10 wickets,  are seeking their first series win in New Zealand since 1968  but were dealt a blow when captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni  sustained a back injury during the warm-up and was replaced by  Dinesh Karthik.

Virender Sehwag took over as captain and the absence of  Dhoni did nothing to prevent opening bowlers Zaheer Khan and  Ishant Sharma from taking three New Zealand wickets in the  first hour.

Ishant had Tim McIntosh (12) caught behind by Dinesh  Karthik, while Zaheer bowled Jamie How (one) and had Martin  Guptill caught by Sehwag in the gully for eight to leave the  hosts floundering.

The scenario was reminiscent of the first test in the  three-match series at Seddon Park when New Zealand never  recovered after slumping to 61-6 in the first session of the  match.


The 25-year-old Taylor however, chose not to temper his  aggressive strokemaking despite the precarious position before  lunch, taking New Zealand to 98-3 by the break.

After lunch he produced several anxious moments while on 99  and almost ran out Ryder while searching for a quick single  before he brought up his third test century with an edged drive  behind point for his 18th boundary from 151 balls.

“Jeepers. You’d have thought it was my first hundred the  way I was jumping around,” Taylor said.
“I haven’t had a significant score for a while now. I’m a  nervous starter normally but today I was probably a little bit  more nervous than usual.”
They took the hosts to 233-3 at tea and in the final  session they set the partnership record before Ryder brought up  his second test century, when he guided a Zaheer delivery past  backward point for his 14th boundary.

Taylor finally departed when he top-edged Harbhajan Singh  and was well caught by Yuvraj in the shadows of the main stand  in the outfield.
“I’m a bit disappointed I played a reckless shot but at the  same time to get the team to where they are after being three  for 20-odd was a pretty good effort,” Taylor said.

“I haven’t batted with Jesse for that length of time for a  while and he was a big help through the whole innings. He was  geeing me along a lot.”

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