India Going to make the record of wining the test match in New Zealand soil after 40 years. This is mainly because of  Little master Sachin Tendulkar scored his 42nd Test century and gave Seddon Park a batting masterclass as India established a stranglehold on proceedings on the third afternoon. By the time Munaf Patel holed out after the tea interval had been delayed, the lead was 241 and prospects extremely bleak for the home side. Tendulkar’s hundred took just 168 balls and his positive intent never allowed the bowlers to settle. India lost Yuvraj Singh to an error of judgement but though Mahendra Singh Dhoni was initially subdued, a 115-run partnership pretty much shut the door on New Zealand’s hopes in this match.

Over the past few months, there have been several glimpses of the Tendulkar of old, the peerless strokemaker who just came out and played without a thought for the cares of the world. That was in evidence again in the morning, with some magnificent strokes played all around the wicket. The tone for the day was set in the very first over with a lovely cover-drive after Yuvraj had clipped Chris Martin off the pads twice for fours. In Martin’s next over, Tendulkar played a gorgeous back-foot cover-drive, and when Iain O’Brien was glanced and then cut for four, he was into the 90s. The partnership was beginning to look ominous when Martin gave New Zealand some respite. Coming round the wicket, he got the ball to nip back a smidgen off the seam. Yuvraj watched it all the way and just shouldered arms. The ball took off stump. Dhoni edged the first ball he faced just short of third slip, but all eyes were on Tendulkar.

A wonderful stroke through cover off O’Brien took him to 99, and a wristy tuck on to the onside when James Franklin came on to bowl had the crowd on its feet, to acclaim a man whose feats are unlikely ever to be matched. The punishment was far from over though. Jesse Ryder had been miserly on day two, but 24 hours later, Tendulkar greeted him with an on-drive, a deft swish behind point and a nonchalant clip off the pads. Of the 66 runs scored before drinks, he had made 47. Dhoni was watchful at the other end, with only a fluent cover-drive off Franklin offering a glimpse of the strokes at his disposal. Daniel Vettori came on and bottled one end up, unlucky perhaps not to get an lbw decision against Tendulkar, but the slumping body language of his team-mates said it all. It only got worse after lunch. Tendulkar swept Vettori for four and was ruthless in his execution of the cut when Martin dropped short and wide. When he tapped one down to third man, he had his 18th score of 150 or more, and the century partnership came up soon after as Dhoni unleashed a withering off-drive off Martin.

It was the impressive O’Brien that gave his beleaguered team some respite. The third umpire was needed to make sure that Ryder hadn’t caught Dhoni at gully after another fierce cut, but India’s captain was on his way three balls later after gloving a short-pitched delivery behind. Then, after an immaculate punch down the ground off O’Brien, Tendulkar’s 260-ball effort ended with an edge to first slip, after he tried to fend a bouncer down towards fine leg. By then, the lead was 164 and though Vettori took a smart diving catch at mid-off to end Harbhajan Singh’s cameo, there was further punishment from Zaheer Khan, who hit the ball through and over the covers with the ease of a frontline batsman. The hapless Mills went for three fours in an over, and the 500 came up right after Daniel Flynn had put Zaheer down off Franklin’s bowling. Zaheer celebrated that chance with two whiplashes through cover, and a risky single soon after gave him 50 from 45 balls and added insult to considerable injury. Vettori was tidy while O’Brien and Martin toiled hard but the lack of quality from the back-up bowlers was glaring, especially against the tail. There were bound to be changes for Napier, but for the moment, all thoughts were on surviving Hamilton.


Century seems to have become Sachin Tendulkar’s middle name. And that is what he did on Sunday to deliver the knockout punch to the Kiwis in their own backyard. A majestic 163 (retd hurt) by the maestro saw India post 392 in their allotted 50 overs, his innings studded with 16 fours and garnished with 5 monstrous hits into the stands. New Zealand fought hard and gave India a run for their money as they ended up scoring 334 before they lost their last wicket in the form of Tim Southee and losing by only 58 runs even after being set a target of 393 in fifty overs. Cricket surely was a winner at Christchurch. Sachin Tendulkar was named the man-of the-match for his breath taking innings of 163 not out. After losing Sehwag (3) and Gambhir (15) cheaply, the Master Blaster manoeuvred his heavy willow with utmost perfection to make the Black Caps swing to his tunes. The Mumbaikar brought up his 43rd ODI century off 101 balls and later went to score 163 off 133 deliveries before he had to walk back to the pavilion due to a muscle pull in the abdomen. Enter Yuvraj and boundaries started to rain. 87 off just 60 deliveries was the damage that the left handed batsman did to New Zealand. Out of the 87 that he scored, 76 were in boundaries (10×4, 6×6). Sadly, the Kingsmead marauder did not get to his three figure mark but paved way for captain MS Dhoni to come to the crease and free his arms. New Zealand were left gasping for breath and cover by the devastating Yuvraj who had taken the Kiwi bowlers to the cleaners and brought up his fifty off just 42 balls. He had brought up his half century with an extremely humungous hit, a six that could well have brought down an air hostess with it. Dhoni played a captain’s innings rotating the strike and sending the loose deliveries to the advertising boards. He departed after scoring 68 but the scoring rate did not dip. Raina contributed 38 from 18. New Zealand started off extremely well with Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder providing New Zealand with the perfect start. The Kiwis were cruising at 156 for no loss after 20 overs and suddenly seemed to lose the plot as they lost seven wickets till 218. Ryder (105) had blasted off to his maiden century off just 72 deliveries and McCullum departed after 71 from 68 balls. Suddenly a couple of run outs and an improvement in the fielding saw India run riot into the New Zealand middle order to reduce them to 251/8. It was then that the improbable seemed quite achievable. Kyle Mills (52 off 34) and Tim Southee (32 off 20) joined hands and put up an 83 run partnership for the 9th wicket to give the Kiwis an outside chance of creating history. Well, there were quite a few records that were created. This was Sachin Tendulkar’s first ODI century in New Zealand. He looked all set to overhaul Saeed Anwar’s record of 194 runs but had to walk away in the 46th over. There were 31 sixes hit in the match, a world record. India now lead the five match series 2-0 with two more matches to go which means, they cannot lose the series from here on. The next match will be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton on March 11