DION NASH and Daniel Vettori resurrected a sagging New Zealand innings to give the hosts a handy lead over India on the second day of the second Test in Wellington yesterday.
Nash was on 56 and the spinner Vettori on 35 as the pair guided New Zealand from 208 for 7 to 290 for 7 at stumps in reply to India's 208. India, spurred by a fine spell of bowling by Javagal Srinath, crawled back into the contest after lunch when the Kiwis lost four wickets for 46 runs.
New Zealand went into lunch on 132 for 3, but gave away a position of strength. India did well to break the backbone of the New Zealand innings after five dropped catches. The vice- captain, Ajay Jadeja, put down three of them, while Rahul Dravid grassed two.
Srinath extracted disconcerting bounce and peppered the New Zealand middle- order before Anil Kumble (3 for 67) seized two of the four wickets to fall between lunch and tea. Srinath triggered the middle-order collapse with the wicket of Craig McMillan, brilliantly caught by Dravid for 24.
McMillan and Nathan Astle put on a stubborn 50 runs for the fourth wicket after New Zealand had lost the two overnight batsmen - Matthew Horne and Stephen Fleming - in the morning.
Horne and Fleming figured in a forceful 72-run stand before disaster struck. Fleming was needlessly run out going for a second run and Horne, dropped on 22 and 27, was finally beaten by a Kumble top-spinner that hurried on to the opener and bowled him.
Second day; India won toss
INDIA - First Innings 208 (M Azharuddin 103; S B Doull 7-65).
NEW ZEALAND - First Innings
(Overnight: 52 for 1)
M J Horne b Kumble 38
*S P Fleming run out 42
N J Astle b Kumble 56
C D McMillan c Dravid b Srinath 24
A C Parore lbw b Kumble 2
C L Cairns c Tendulkar b Prasad 3
D J Nash not out 56
D L Vettori not out 35
Extras (b8 lb17 nb5) 30
Total (for 7, 112 overs) 290
Fall (cont): 2-79 3-112 4-162 5-172 6-179 7-208.
To bat: S B Doull, P J Wiseman.
Bowling: Srinath 30-4-81-1 (nb5); Prasad 23-6-57-2, Kumble 37-14-67- 3; Singh 16-3-47-0; Ganguly 6-0-13-0.
Umpires: E A Nicholls (WI) and E A Watkin.