Gambhir’s marathon knock secures draw

Napier, March 30:

A heroic stand of 137 in nearly 11 hours at the crease by Gautam Gambhir ensured the second Test between India and New Zealand ended in a draw on the final day on Monday.

When Gambhir’s match-saving, marathon performance came to an end he had batted through three days’ play and rescued his side from a perilous situation. After New Zealand made 619-9 declared, India were bowled out for 305 in their first innings and lost their first second innings wicket at 30 when asked to follow on.

But Gambhir, in his 24th Test, set about a rescue mission that lasted 642 minutes and ended with India all but safe. It was left to VVS Laxman on 124 and Yuvraj Singh on 54 to bat out the last two hours and get India across the line with their 1-0 series lead intact.

New Zealand, whipped by 10 wickets in the first Test, have one chance left to salvage a draw from the three-Test series when the final match starts in Wellington on Friday.

Jesse Ryder’s 201 for New Zealand was the man-of-the-match feat, but Gambhir’s second innings response for India was the most exemplary.

SA win T20 series Centurion: New cap Roelof van der Merwe and captain Johan Botha took South Africa to a series-clinching 17-run win in the second Twenty20 international against Australia on Sunday. Van der Merwe hit 48 off 30 balls as South Africa struggled to 156-5 after being sent in. Then Botha produced a miserly spell of off-spin bowling, taking 2-16 in four overs, as Australia were restricted to 139-8.

Van der Merwe slammed four sixes and two fours, with two sixes and both fours coming in one over from Nathan Bracken. In reply, Michael Clarke and David Warner put on 37, but Warner was bowled by Albie Morkel and one run later Australian captain Ricky Ponting was caught behind. The game changed dramatically when Clarke was bowled by Botha and Callum Ferguson was run out first ball.

England beat WI Bridgetown: Andrew Strauss scored 79 off 61 balls to lead England to a nine-wicket victory under the Duckworth-Lewis Method over West Indies in the rain-affected fourth One-day International on Sunday. Given the revised target of 135 from 20 overs, the tourists got over the line with nine balls to spare, when Strauss guided Dwayne Bravo to third man for his ninth four. The rain started during the interval between innings, after England sent West Indies in to bat and the home team made 239-9 from 50 overs. Earlier, Bravo gathered 69 from 72 balls to give a late boost to the West Indies total.