The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sehwag ton not enough

Napier: The Indians finally found a proper batting wicket, Virender Sehwag hit a century, and yet, they handed over the second one-dayer to New Zealand here Sunday to remain winless on a disastrous tour.

After being ambushed on seamer-friendly strips in the two Tests and the first one-dayer all of which they lost, the visitors batted irresponsibly on a good track here to manage only 219 runs against New Zealandís 254 for nine, to end up losers by 35 runs.

Opener Sehwag put behind failures on this tour for his 108 off 121 balls, but he ran himself out at a crucial stage to compound another poor outing for the Indians who fielded badly. Rahul Dravid was also needlessly run out. Skipper Sourav Gangulyís continued failure with the bat did not help.

For the first time on this tour, Sourav won the toss and promptly put New Zealand in to bat. Nathan Astle and Mathew Sinclair put up 136 for the second wicket. Astle made 76 off 95 balls while Sinclair scored 78 from 126 balls . Apart from these two, Lou Vincent was the only batsman to have made a significant contribution, scoring 34.

India lost Sourav to the third ball of the innings, clean bowled by Daryl Tuffey for nought.

Sehwag, who struck nine fours and two sixes in his knock, kept the team in the hunt with a few good partnerships but key wickets at crucial junctures saw India releasing their grip on the match.

V. V. S. Laxman edged a catch to wicketkeeper Brendan McCullam after adding 57 runs for the second wicket with Sehwag in which his own contribution was 20.

And when Dravid and Yuvraj Singh fell in quick succession to leave India at 104 for four in the 24th over, Sehwag found an able partner in Mohammed Kaif who batted sensibly to put on 78 runs for the fifth wicket.

Just when the duo looked set to anchor India to safety, Tuffey struck by inducing an outside edge off Kaifís bat for McCullam to take a simple catch. Kaif scored 24 runs.

When Sanjay Bangar was out in the same fashion six balls later Indiaís run-chase was all but over since Sehwag was left only with the tailenders to score 68 more runs at more than six runs an over.

Harbhajan Singh played a cameo knock of 16 off 17 balls that included a stunning six over point off Tuffey but that was hardly enough for Indiaís cause. The tourists, who had been docked two overs for slow bowling rate, lost their last four wickets within a space of 15 runs to be all out in 43.4 over and give a 2-0 lead to New Zealand in the seven-match series.

But Sehwag had the consolation of becoming only the second Indian to score a one-day century in New Zealand, the other being Dravid who made 123 in 1998-99 in Taupo.

Earlier, New Zealand rode on the good innings from Astle and Sinclair and an inept fielding performance by the Indians to post a good total.

They lost Stephen Fleming in the third over of the day when the captain miscued an intended on-drive to give a simple catch to Kaif off Jawagal Srinath who finished with three for 34.

Astle lived dangerously but ensured that the team recovered from the early jolt. Sinclair was let off twice, with Dravid missing a catch and a stumping chance against Harbhajan Singh when the batsman was yet to reach his 40s.

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