Tendulkar too good as India romp home

Christchurch, March 8:

An unbeaten 163 by Sachin Tendulkar led India to a 58-run win over New Zealand in the third one-day international today and ensured they cannot lose the series.

Tendulkar was the stand-out figure as India scored 392-4 after being sent into bat first. It was the highest international ODI score against New Zealand, but the Black Caps were on target to overhaul it when they reached 166-0 before the middle order self-destructed and they were all out for 334 in 45.1 overs. The win gave India an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series with two matches remaining.

New Zealand had an early success with the dismissal of Virender Sehwag (3). Gautam Gambhir (15) followed soon and India were 65-2 in the 13th over when India stepped up to a level New Zealand had no answer for. Yuvraj Singh joined Tendulkar and they piled on 138 in 16.4 overs. During the batting power play they added 69, propelling India from 105 after 20 overs to 206 after 30.

Yuvraj kept his running to a minimum, with 10 fours and six sixes in his 87 off 60 balls. The Indian innings produced 18 sixes in all, equalling the world record for an international innings, and New Zealand added 13 to set a record 31 sixes in a match.

Tendulkar contributed five of them and also clouted 16 fours with his 163 coming from 133 balls, before he retired hurt with a pulled stomach muscle in the 45th over. Indian captain Mahendra Dhoni also kept the scorers busy as he cracked 68 from 58 balls.

Brendon McCullum (71) and Jesse Ryder raced to 166 by the 22nd over before the innings fell apart. When Martin Guptill fell, New Zealand were 182-3. Ryder (105) posted his first ODI century. But there was no other New Zealand innings of note until bowlers Kyle Mills (54) and Tim Southee (32) came together at 251-8 and restored a little pride.