Taylor, Ryder flay Indian attack on Day I

Napier, March 26:

A record-breaking partnership brought centuries for Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder to steady New Zealand after a shaky start on the first day of the second Test against India here today.

At stumps New Zealand were 351-4, with Ryder not out on 137 and Taylor back in the pavilion for 151 after the pair put on 271 for the fourth wicket. It was a record New Zealand fourth wicket stand against any country, and a record for any New Zealand partnership against India. There was an air of vulnerability about the Indian side for the first time in the series, as catch opportunities went begging and sloppy fielding gifted New Zealand boundaries. It was a sharp turnaround in fortunes after India cleaned up the first Test by 10 wickets, and had New Zealand reeling at 23-3 at the start of the second Test.

The three wickets fell in the space of just two runs and had Zaheer Khan on a hat-trick when Ryder joined Taylor in the middle. India could have had New Zealand at 31-4 but Yuvraj Singh dropped Taylor at third slip when he was on four. It proved a costly miss.

Taylor and Ryder added a further 263 before Yuvraj made amends by catching Taylor off Harbhajan Singh. Ryder continued with James Franklin, who was 26 not out at the close after being dropped by Yuvraj at slip when on seven.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss earlier and said it was a straightforward decision to bat on a flat brown pitch that offered the bowlers nothing. But it looked early on as if New Zealand were in danger of repeating their first Test flop as three wickets fell in quick succession.

Tim McIntosh (12) was given out caught by replacement wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off Ishant Sharma while the recalled Jamie How (one) lasted 11 deliveries before he was bowled by Zaheer. Zaheer took Martin Guptill (eight) with the first ball of his next over which was fended to a diving Virender Sehwag, the stand-in Indian captain, at gully.