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The Electronic Telegraph 3rd Test: India v New Zealand, Match Report
8-12 November 1995

Day 1: Storm ends an intriguing day
By Harsha Bogle

First day of five: India are 120-5. Rain stopped play

A storm in the Bay of Bengal ruined a potentially intriguing first day in the third and final Test.

New Zealand bowlers Chris Cairns and Dion Nash jolted India by taking three wickets for eight runs but the batting side ended the day without further loss.

Further rain is predicted, so New Zealand may miss the chance to attempt to level the series, which India lead 1-0.

Ironically, Cuttack awoke to a wonderful morning. Flecks of blue in the sky, a lovely light breeze and warm sunshine. By lunch it seemed somebody had repainted the sky a dull grey.

Captain Mohammad Azharuddin won a very good toss and his openers Jadeja and Prabhakar provided the right start, putting on 58 in the first hour from 14 overs.

Jadeja was looking in very good touch, playing some great cover drives and claiming six boundaries. He looked set for many more than 45 but both he and Prabhakar became victims of outstanding slip catches, having added 69.

First Martin Crowe picked a blinder just off his eyebrows at second slip to get rid of Prabhakar for 22 and then Matthew Hart went low at third slip to pick up a catch from Jadeja off Chris Cairns.

But those were only the appetisers. Cairns was soon to serve up a stunning main course. Sachin Tendulkar had made just two when he received a gorgeous late out-swinger from Cairns. The angle took it towards leg and middle then, with Tendulkar aiming an on-side shot, it swerved away to hit off-stump. It was probably the most memorable moment of the series so far.

At 77 for three India might have been in trouble. But they survived until lunch, entering the pavilion with the score having advanced to 84 for no further loss.

When play eventually resumed, after light drizzle had kept the players off during the afternoon session, Navjot Sidhu and Azharuddin shared an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 43.

Sidhu looked as solid as ever and Azharuddin was timing the ball brilliantly when the umpires called the players in. At the close, Sidhu was on 20, Azharuddin on 23 and India 120 for three. Weather forecasts suggest the scoreboard will stay the same for a while.

Day 5: Hirwani back in leg-spin groove

Final day: India (296-8 dec) drew with New Zealand (175-8 dec) in a rain affected match, India win series 1-0.

When the final day's play of a forgettable Test match began in this eastern India town, everybody was ready to confine the series to just another page in the report books.

By the time stumps were drawn, one man had salvaged his reputation and his leg-spin had given the New Zealand series a peg to remember it by.

Playing his first Test for five years, Narendra Hirwani bowled with the guile and control that brought him a world record 16 wickets on Test debut. That was seven years ago.

He raised visions of that by picking up six of the first seven wickets to fall against New Zealand.

Hirwani bowled beautifully, floating the ball up to the batsman and though he continued to show a preference for the googly, few of the New Zealand batsmen spotted it consistently.

It was fascinating watching him bowl in tandem with Anil Kumble; two wonderful exponents of a rare art and yet so bewilderingly different. Strangely it was Kumble who was the easier of the two to read, for on a painfully slow track his extra pace made the ball come well on to the bat.

Hirwani's first victim was Mark Greatbatch, a close bat-pad call after making a restrained 50, but even by those standards Roger Twose chugged along like an old Indian passenger train.

Delighted to have bat in hand 20 days after he was first told he would play for New Zealand, Twose scored 12 till lunch and his 36 took almost 3.5 hours.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk