Brilliant Dravid 190 gives India lifeline
4 December 1998
HAMILTON, New Zealand, Jan 4 (AFP) - A brilliant knock of 190 from
India's Rahul Dravid gave his team a lifeline in the third and final
Test against New Zealand here Monday.
The third day's play began with New Zealand confident of holding a
good lead out of their first innings 366, but ended with Dravid
leading India to a 50-run innings lead.
Dravid and Javagal Srinath's record 144-run partnership helped give
India 416 after they had started the day on a precarious 196 for five.
The Indian batsmen were helped by some dreadful fielding, which
included four dropped catches.
But despite Dravid's heroics, New Zealand remain confident of
clinching the series and at stumps the Kiwis were just five runs
behind India's first innings total after a steady start to their
Opener Matthew Bell finished 18 not out with partner Matthew Horne on
an unbeaten 25.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming believes his side can fight their
way back into a position of authority.
``We are 1-0 up in the series and if we bat well tomorrow we can bat
them out of the game,'' Fleming said.
``The game is very even but they have to bat last so I think the game
is still in our court.
``I don't intend leaving them any target but having said that we intend
batting positively and we'll see how we are placed tomorrow night.''
The four dropped catches behind the wicket cost New Zealand a healthy
first innings advantage.
Srinath was the fortunate batsman each time and paceman Dion Nash the
unfortunate with three being grassed off his bowling.
``We lost the initiative with the missed chances. The bowlers created
chances but unfortunately we could not hold them. It was frustrating
but with Nathan (Astle) not there (in the slips) we've had to
reshuffle things and it isn't quite clicking,'' Fleming added.
Wicket-keeper Adam Parore dropped two and Bell and Daniel Vettori one
each in the slips.
Dravid, who began the day on 93, brought up his third Test century
with a glorious shot off the back foot through point.
It was his 17th boundary of the innings and 14 more followed before he
played a tired shot in the final session to give Chris Cairns his
``Nash and (Simon) Doull bowled well but Cairnsy let himself down by
bowling so many four balls. He let the pressure off and it meant the
Indian batsmen could play safe against Doull and Nash, and score off
him,'' Fleming said.
Dravid's score was 41 runs short of the record for an Indian batsmen
against New Zealand, 231, which was set by Vinoo Mankad in Madras in
He did have the satisfaction of posting the highest Test score on the
ground, beating Mark Greatbatch's 133 against Pakistan in 1992-93, and
with Srinath broke India's eighth-wicket record against New Zealand.
Dravid said he felt he needed to make amends after getting out to a
poor shot in the second test in Wellington.
``I wanted to put my hand up here and do the job right through,'' the
25-year-old Dravid said.
``I was a little bit disappointed to get out before the double hundred,
but you have to be satisfied with what you get in life.''
Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin said he was ``hopeful, not
confident'' of forcing a result in the match.
India were handicapped in their quest for early second innings wickets
when Srinath was hampered by body cramps but Azharuddin expects him to
be fit to bowl Tuesday.
``I'm quite hopeful. They are still five runs behind and the wicket is
not going to be that easy so we have a chance,'' Azharuddin said.
``Rahul has given us a chance and we need to take it quickly because
time is running out for us.''
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