SAURAV GANGULY hit a sparkling, unbeaten 153 and then settled into a tight spell of bowling to help India beat New Zealand by 14 runs and go 2-1 up in the third of five one-day internationals yesterday.
Although Nathan Astle responded with an aggressive 97 and shared in a 99-run opening partnership with Craig Spearman (32), New Zealand were unable to maintain the impetus finishing at 247 for 8 in 50 overs in reply to India's 261 for 5.
Ganguly and fellow left-hander Robin Singh, 45 not out, scored 119 runs off 70 balls in an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership, 55 runs coming off the last three overs. It was a spectacular finish to the innings after India were 185 for five after 45 overs.
Later, Ganguly took a wicket and put pressure on New Zealand as their middle order collapsed. He gave away only 33 runs in an eight-over spell when New Zealand looked well placed to reach the target.
New Zealand's opening stand ended when Spearman edged a drive to Rahul Dravid at slip off the bowling of off-spinner Nikhil Chopra, who finished with three for 32.
After Adam Parore was bowled for three by Ganguly, skipper Stephen Fleming and Astle steadied the innings, adding 57 runs, but the run rate slowed as Ganguly kept the pressure up. India then broke through with two quick wickets to snatch the advantage. Leg-spinner Anil Kumble bowled Astle for 97 and in the next over Chopra trapped Fleming leg before for 27.
Roger Twose was run out by Ajit Agarkar for seven, and Debashish Mohanty took a diving catch to dismiss Chris Cairns for eight.
Earlier, Ganguly hit three sixes and 18 boundaries in an innings studded with brilliant straight drives after lacklustre middle order batting had left India looking short of runs.
India 261-5 in 50 overs (S.Ganguly 153 not out, R.Singh 45 not out).
New Zealand 247-8 in 50 overs (N.Astle 97, N.Chopra 3-32).Reuse content