NEW ZEALAND held a strong grip on the third Test at Hamilton yesterday despite a scintillating, unbeaten 93 from Rahul Dravid. India ended the second day at 196 for 5, 170 runs behind New Zealand's first innings, after the visitors' opening pair were found wanting and went cheaply in successive overs.
Navjot Sidhu and Ajay Jadeja, easy prey for the attack so far in this series, again exposed the middle order to the new ball, and both were back in the pavilion by the time India had scored just 17.
Sidhu was out to Chris Cairns, caught at the wicket after a cramped attempt at a square cut while Jadeja, who hit four boundaries, offered a simple catch to mid-off from a slower ball from Simon Doull.
The grim situation did not daunt Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, who compiled 67. Tendulkar attacked with customary ferocity but he did suffer a few anxious moments. Dravid scored busily but more judiciously, pouncing mainly on full-length balls or those short outside off stump.
By tea, the pair had added 62 in 19 overs. Once the partnership reached 100, Tendulkar launched into Craig McMillan and Nash, smacking three boundaries in two overs but he fell soon after to Nash.
Dravid, 39 at the time, added 54 in the remaining 80 minutes of play, but two more wickets fell, both to Doull's slower ball. First, Saurav Ganguly was defeated and he then found the edge of Mohammad Azharuddin's bat.
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