McCullum stretches NZ lead

2010-11-15 14:22

Hyderabad - New Zealand opener Brendon McCullum struck a superb 124 not out to defy India on the fourth day of the second Test on Monday.

McCullum, 29, hit 11 fours and three sixes in his 177-ball knock as the visitors reached 237-4 at close in reply to India's first-innings 472, built around a record century by tailender Harbhajan Singh.

New Zealand, who made 350 in their first essay, lead by 115 runs with six wickets in hand.

Kane Williamson (12) was the other not out batsman at the crease when stumps were called for the day.

McCullum dominated India's bowlers, hitting paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth for a six over long-off and a four off the next ball before racing to his sixth Test century with another boundary.

He added 125 runs with Tim McIntosh to register New Zealand's first century-stand for the opening wicket in six years.

McIntosh was caught on 49 by substitute fielder Cheteshwar Pujara off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. However, TV replays suggested the ball had rebounded off the pads.

He hit six fours and a six in his 126-ball innings.

Ojha picked his second wicket when he had Martin Guptill caught behind the stumps for 18 while Sreesanth sent back Ross Taylor (seven) with a delivery that uprooted the off-stump.

Jesse Ryder (20) appeared in good touch but his innings was cut short by part-timer Suresh Raina shortly before the close.

Earlier, Harbhajan hammered an unbeaten 111 off 114 balls to become the first number eight batsman in the world to score centuries in successive Tests.

Harbhajan had notched up his maiden Test hundred last week to help India salvage a draw in the opener against the Kiwis in Ahmedabad.

His feat surpasses the record of New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori who scored 140 and 99 batting at number eight in back-to-back Tests last year.

Sreesanth too defied the New Zealand attack for close to two hours before being trapped leg before wicket off Vettori. He made 24 off 71 balls with three fours and shared 105 runs with Harbhajan for the last wicket.

It was Harbhajan who lighted up the proceedings in the morning session, lofting Vettori for a straight six and following it up with another off Tim Southee (3-119) that landed in the stands.

Vettori picked his 19th five-wicket haul in Tests and finished as the most successful New Zealand bowler with figures of 5-135.

India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan sent down just 4.3 overs due to an abdominal strain.