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19th-Feb-2014

India hold onto a draw, New Zealand win series 1-0

By Agency

After Brendon McCullum's historic triple century batted India out of the second Test at Wellington on day five, Virat Kohli helped the visitors overcome a top-order failure with his sixth Test hundred and hold on to draw a Test they looked like winning two days ago. All eyes were on McCullum at the start of the day with NZ already 325 ahead and awaiting their first ever triple centurion in Test cricket. It didn't take the Kiwi skipper long to score the 19 runs he needed to create history, slam the door on India and win the series 1-0. Allrounder James Neesham's debut Test hundred pushed the hosts to 680 for 7 when McCullum decided to declare, setting India a gigantic 435 to win in less than two sessions. Zaheer Khan completed his five-for after a toil of 51 overs in which he gave away 170 runs. India began on a disastrous note, losing their top three for just 54 - with openers Murali Vijay (7) and Shikhar Dhawan (2) falling cheaply, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara (7), who ended his futile tour with another failure. But an unbroken partnership of 112 between Kohli (105*) and Rohit Sharma (31*) managed to stop the fall of wickets before the players shook hands an hour before close of play. It turned out to be a disastrous tour for India as they remained winless, losing the ODI series 4-0 and the Test series 1-0 following their 40-run loss in the first Test at Auckland. The visitors looked like winning this game after taking a 246-run lead and reducing New Zealand to 94 for 5 in their second innings, but McCullum staged a remarkable fightback and together with BJ Watling (124) shared a world record partnership of 352 runs for the sixth wicket to take the hosts to safety. After Watling's wicket, McCullum stitched another crucial 179-run stand with debutant Neesham for the seventh wicket to take the match beyond India's reach. Chasing a mammoth total of 435, India's top three were back in the hut before tea. Starting at 10 for 0 post lunch, India had to bat out two sessions to save the Test. But they stuttered. Dhawan (2) and Vijay (7) were dismissed soon into the last session of the series. Southee then added another one to his tally, breaking the 44-run third-wicket partnership between Pujara and Kohli when he dismissed the former with a sharp bouncer that kissed his glove on its way to wicketkeeper Watling. But Kohli stood firm to steady India's ship along with Rohit. Kohli reached his century in the 49th over of the innings as he scored at a pretty brisk pace. Kohli made good use of the life he got on 23, when umpire Steve Davis failed to judge an edge off Trent Boult. Kohli and Rohit then put on a century stand for the fourth-wicket to deny New Zealand any further inroads. In the morning session, NZ rode on McCullum's historic 302 and Neesham's unbeaten 137 to declare their second innings at 680 for 8 with an overall lead of 434 runs. McCullum struck Zaheer for a boundary in front of third man to reach the landmark in the 200th over.