Stumps on Day 1
New Zealand limped towards 148 for 7 before bad light gave them an early day off by 20 minutes. Brendon McCullum is hanging in there with an injured back to score an unbeaten 34 from 80 balls and is left with the tail to stretch this low first innings total. McCullum added 42 runs for the 7th wicket with Jesse Ryder who too was handicapped with an injury! Both batsmen struggled to lean forward or go back and were just unfit to run between the wickets. There was no runner allowed by the Umpires as both the players had picked these injuries prior to the match.
India got an early wicket after Tea when Ojha had Hopkins edging a turning ball to slip to leave NZ at 82 for 6. Brendon McCullum was forced to come out because of the situation and he tried his best to score some boundaries along with Ryder. India gave away little and the two injured players could only settle for singles from the deep. Plenty of easy runs were not taken as Ryder and McCullum were very immobile. In the 48th over, Ryder finally perished failing to keep his cut off Harbhajan Singh along the ground to be caught low at covers by Raina. Ryder scored 59 from 113 balls with 5 fours.
Play will start at 9:00 AM on Day 2 to make up for the lost time today.
Tea on Day 1
Opening bowlers Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma took two wickets each to leave New Zealand reeling at 72 for 5 in the 26 overs that were bowled in the afternoon session at Nagpur. Sreesanth provided the inroads by sending both the openers to the pavilion inside 10 overs. First to go was Martin Guptill who was squared up on the backfoot to nick a late outswinger and a couple of overs later, McIntosh getting bowled on the backfoot by one that nipped back through the bat pad gate.
New Zealand at 16 for 2 relied heavily on Taylor in the company of the in-form Ryder but the former paid price for some poor footwork. In Ishant's second spell, Taylor (20) failed to stretch his frontfoot out and was hit on the pad by an inswinger right in front of off in the 15th over. Four balls later, Kane Williamson departed for a duck after digging out a Pragyan Ojha too early to spoon a simple catch to short extra covers.
By the end of the 17th over, New Zealand lost its most reliable batsman - Daniel Vettori (3) to an uncharacteristic pull shot off Ishant which was dragged back onto the stumps to leave the score at a terrible 51 for 5. At Tea, Ryder is on 26 from 47 balls with Wicket Keeper Gareth Hopkins who is on 7. Brendon McCullum who had injured his back at the time of toss is due to come in next.
Toss and Teams
New Zealand have won the toss and elected to bat first in the final Test at Nagpur. The pitch according to MS Dhoni is on the dry side which means that the spinners will come into play and the ball is going to revere swing pretty early in the innings.
Both the teams have made one change each. For India, Ishant Sharma replaces the injured Zaheer Khan and for the Kiwis, Andy McKay comes in for Brent Arnel. There was a last minute back injury to Brendon McCullum just prior to the toss and he has been pushed down the batting order.
India : V Sehwag, G Gambhir, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, SK Raina, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth, PP Ojha, I Sharma
New Zealand : TG McIntosh, MJ Guptill, LRPL Taylor, JD Ryder, KS Williamson, BB McCullum, DL Vettori (C), GJ Hopkins (WK), CS Martin, TG Southee, AJ McKay
Update at 12:00 PM
The third Test match at Nagpur is all set to start at 12:30 PM with 70 overs to be bowled in the day. Play will go on till 5:30 PM light permitting that is. At the moment, it is very bright and sunny in Nagpur and the pitch is expected to turn out to be batsmen-friendly. The only team news that is available so far is that left arm quick Andy McKay will be making his Test Debut today.
Update at 10:40 AM
The Umpires have decided that they will have their next inspection at 11:00 AM. The concern all the while has been of the boundary areas which are covered under the roof shade. The groundstaff have sprayed lots of saw dust on these boggy areas and it does look an ugly picture for the eyes. The sun seems to have come out and play is expected to begin most probably by 11:30 AM.
Update at 9:15 AM
Lack of sunshine and regular showers in the last few days has left the VCA Stadium outfield damp and unfit for a timely start in the decisive third and final Test at Nagpur. Umpire Simon Taufel is unsure about when the match could get underway as he reckons that there is hardly any sun to dry up things at the boundary areas. The boundary areas of the ground are also covered by the huge stadium roof on all sides which isn't helping the cause as well. A delayed start by a couple of hours or a start by lunch time is on the cards should there be no rain now.