Ton-up Ryder thwarts India
Ahmedabad - Jesse Ryder struck a remarkable 103 and shared a 194-run stand with debutant Kane Williamson to defy world number one India on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Ryder struck 10 fours and a six in his 205-ball knock while Williamson was equally impressive in making 87 not out as New Zealand reached 331-5 at stumps at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
That left the visitors 156 runs adrift of India's first-innings 487.
Ryder completed his third century -- all of which have come against India -- with a delightful four in the covers but was trapped lbw by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth one ball later in the day's last over.
New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum said the team was delighted by the efforts of the fifth-wicket pair.
"We have not seen a number five and six bat like this in a very long time," he said. "Ryder has had disciplinary problems but we'd rather not talk about that. He says he has put that behind and moved on.
"Each time he steps out to bat, the team has massive faith in him. As for Williamson, in New Zealand you don't see kids come through by the age of 20. So, for him to come out and bat the way he did, it is just incredible."
India's bowlers struggled in unhelpful conditions, with a dodgy caught behind decision involving Williamson and a dropped catch of Ryder adding to their woes.
Williamson, who scored his maiden one-day century during New Zealand's recent tour of Bangladesh, however showed remarkable application in his nearly five-hour stay at the wicket.
He even dealt calmly with a chest-high beamer from Sreesanth, which prompted Australian umpire Steve Davis to have a quiet word with the fast bowler.
"It (beamer) was not intentional," said Sreesanth. "I used to lose temper earlier but now I am smarter. It was frustrating to bowl on a wicket which had nothing for the bowlers.
"Given the conditions, I think all our bowlers bowled very well. We now need to get rid of the remaining New Zealand batsmen as early as possible."
Ryder was dropped on 11 in the slips by Rahul Dravid, who failed to latch on to the catch on his right despite getting his fingers to the ball, the unlucky bowler being Sreesanth.
Injury-prone Ryder, playing his first Test in 15 months, was troubled by a strain in the calf and took the help of a runner in the latter part of his knock.
India's spin duo Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh earlier removed McCullum (65) and Ross Taylor (56) shortly before lunch after they had put on 104 runs for the third wicket.
McCullum, opening for the first time in Tests, completed his 17th Test half-century with a single in the covers after driving Sreesanth twice for fours.
Taylor provided good support to his partner, reaching his 10th Test fifty with a boundary off Harbhajan, but he fell soon after to the off-spinner, offering a simple catch at short mid-wicket to Venkatsai Laxman.
McCullum missed the chance to make a big score after being stumped by an alert Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who whipped off the bails with the batsman's back foot on the line.
His 122-ball innings contained 11 boundaries.
India, 1st innings 487
New Zealand, 1st innings
Tim McIntosh c Dhoni b Zaheer 0
Brendon McCullum st Dhoni b Ojha 65
BJ Watling b Ojha 6
Ross Taylor c Laxman b Harbhajan 56
Jesse Ryder lbw b Sreesanth 103
Kane Williamson not out 87
Extras (1b, 9lb, 4nb) 14
Total: (for five wickets) 331
Still to bat: Daniel Vettori, Gareth Hopkins, Jeetan Patel, Hamish Bennett, Chris Martin.
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-27, 3-131, 4-137, 5-331.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 19-6-38-1, S. Sreesanth 17.3-1-70-1 (4nb), Pragyan Ojha 38-8-80-2, Harbhajan Singh 34-7-90-1, Virender Sehwag 1-0-7-0, Suresh Raina 6-0-20-0, Sachin Tendulkar 2-0-16-0.
Umpires: Steve Davis, Australia, and Kumar Dharmasena, Sri Lanka.
TV Umpire: Shavir Tarapore, India. Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle, Sri Lanka.
Toss: Won by India