Cricket: Dravid helps India stay afloat in Test

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New Zealand 366 & 45-0 India 416

THE INDIAN batsman, Rahul Dravid, scored a fine 190 yesterday to steer the tourists to a first innings lead of 50 against New Zealand in the third Test.

Dravid, helped by 76 from the tail-ender Javagal Srinath, was the backbone of India's 416, in which seven batsmen failed to shine. At stumps on the third day, New Zealand were five runs behind, having added 45 runs without loss to their first innings total of 366.

Dravid, who had helped repair the innings on Sunday after both openers went cheaply, filled the breach again when India lost two early wickets to slump to 211 for 7. In the first half-hour Nayan Mongia went for seven and Anil Kumble for a duck. Dravid and Srinath rescued India from a first innings deficit with a record partnership of 144, beating by one run India's previous best eighth-wicket stand against New Zealand, between Bapu Nadkarni and Farrokh Engineer in Madras in 1964-65.

"Whenever I felt tired or felt I was losing concentration, I looked at Srinath and felt refreshed and determined to keep on battling," Dravid said after amassing his highest Test score. Dravid's knock lasted just over eight hours and included 28 boundaries, but fatigue finally got the better of him. He was caught after playing a tired-looking shot off Cairns.

Third day; India won toss

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 366 (C D McMillan 92, R G Twose 87, M J Horne 63).

INDIA - First Innings

N S Sidhu c Parore b Cairns 1

A D Jadeja c Nash b Doull 12

R S Dravid c McMillan b Cairns 190

S R Tendulkar lbw b Nash 67

S C Ganguly c Fleming b Doull 11

*M Azharuddin c Fleming b Cairns 4

N R Mongia c Horne b Nash 7

A Kumble c Parore b Doull 0

J Srinath c Twose b Wiseman 76

B V K Prasad not out 30

R Singh c Fleming b Cairns 0

Extras (b2 lb4 w8 nb4) 18

Total (128.3 overs) 416

Fall: 1-17, 2-17, 3-126, 4-164, 5-195, 6-204, 7-211, 8-355, 9-416.

Bowling: Doull 36-15-64-3; Cairns 22.3-3-107-4 (nb3 w4); Nash 37-10-98- 2 (w-4); Vettori 16-2-71-0 (nb-1); McMillan 4-0-24-0; Wiseman 13-2-46- 1.

NEW ZEALAND - Second Innings

M D Bell not out 18

M J Horne not out 25

Extras (1lb, 1w) 2

Total: (for 0, 16 overs) 45

Bowling: Prasad 8-2-19-0; Singh 2-0-15-0 (1w); Srinath 2-1-4-0; Kumble 4-2-6-0.

To bat: *S P Fleming, R G Twose, C D McMillan, A C Parore, C L Cairns, D J Nash, D L Vettori, S B Doull, P J Wiseman.