Cricket: Rain delays record run chase

By Kris Shannon of APNZ in Bangalore

New Zealand bowler Tim Southee celebrates taking the wicket of India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Photo / AP
New Zealand bowler Tim Southee celebrates taking the wicket of India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Photo / AP

Rain threatened to derail India's run chase for victory against New Zealand in the second test.

An early tea was taken after the match was delayed by light drizzle midway through the afternoon.

India were searching for a record fourth innings chase in Bangalore to win the test and claim the series 2-0, and their batsmen were proceeding pretty comfortably when the weather intervened.

Cheteshwar Pujara, the first test centurion, and the great Sachin Tendulkar were working on a match-winning partnership for the third wicket, taking their side to within 114 runs of victory when this edition went to press.

Once New Zealand were eventually dismissed yesterday - on the back of another in a long line of shocking umpiring decisions in this series - the hosts were set 260 to sweep the series.

To succeed in that chase, India knew they needed to create history. The previous highest fourth innings total at M Chinnaswamy Stadium was just 239, while the highest successful chase was 207.

But in that match, two years ago against Australia, India cruised to the total with seven wickets in hand. The heroes that day were Pujara and Tendulkar, both of whom made half centuries.

New Zealand's task was to repeat some history of their own.

In their last test win over a major test-playing nation, against Australia late last year, the New Zealand bowlers defended what seemed like a meagre total after the opposition were comfortably in pole position. A Doug Bracewell-inspired seam attack saw New Zealand reduce Australia from 159-2 to 233 all out, as they successfully prevented the home side from reaching their target of 241.

Once Jeetan Patel was given out caught behind despite clearly missing the ball, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir set about the chase as if it were day five, not four.

The openers had raced to 77 from only 11.5 overs when New Zealand got the breakthrough they desperately desired.

Patel, after being hit for six by Sehwag earlier in the over, enticed him to dance down the wicket and snuck one through his wild flail to nick off stump.

That considerably slowed the home side's charge to victory, and once Trent Boult had Gambhir caught at second slip, the tourists' tails were well and truly up.

Their momentum, however, was somewhat scuppered by the lunch break, and once play resumed Pujara and Tendulkar had few problems.

The most significant of those problems came when stand-in keeper Brendon McCullum, behind the stumps in place of the injured Kruger van Wyk, squandered a simple stumping chance from Pujara.

- APNZ

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