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Guptill’s ton sets India target of 315 runs to save series


India recovered some lost ground towards the end but New Zealand still scored an imposing 314 all out, riding on Martin Guptill’s century in the third cricket one-dayer here today

INDNZAuckland: India recovered some lost ground towards the end but New Zealand still scored an imposing 314 all out, riding on Martin Guptill’s century in the third cricket one-dayer here today.

The Indian bowlers produced a much better performance in the death overs and did not allow the Black Caps to run away with a massive total by taking three quick wickets between the 43rd and 44th overs.

Ross Taylor (17), Nathan McCullum (1) and Luke Ronchi (38) were out in the space of nine balls to put brakes on New Zealand’s push  for a huge total.

It was a different experience for the Indian attack this time around, conceding only 81 runs in the last 10 overs. Only 33 runs had come off the second power play with two wickets lost therein, and it had set up this good finish for the Indians.

Guptill’s fine 129-ball 111 and Kane Williamson’s 74-ball 65, however, took New Zealand to 314 all out in their stipulated 50 overs at the Eden Park.

Guptill hit 12 fours and two sixes and put on 153 runs for the second wicket with Williamson even as the Indian bowlers fought back to bowl the hosts out.

It was a much improved bowling performance from the visitors, who are 0-2 down in the five-match series and are desperate to win their first ODI in the last six matches overseas.

Mohammad Shami (2/84) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/47) were the pick of the bowlers, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/48), Varun Aaron (1/52) and R Ashwin (1/47) chipping in with a wicket each. Suresh Raina (0/26) went wicket-less in his four overs.

Earlier, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won his third straight toss of the series and for a third consecutive time, he chose to field first.

The visitors made one change to their playing eleven, with Aaron coming in for out-of-form Ishant Sharma. Suresh Raina was declared fit to play after suffering a hit below the left elbow in net practice yesterday. New Zealand too made one change with Hamish Bennett coming into the eleven in place of Kyle Mills.

Kumar and Shami began the proceedings for India and they were a little bothered initially with the purchase they received from the Eden Park pitch. It allowed Guptill and Jesse Ryder (20) to make another quick start, as 32 runs came off the first four overs.

But, Ryder failed again to get going after an initial burst, bowled by Kumar in the fifth over, as the ball moved in past his bat, onto his pads and took the leg-stump.

It brought Williamson to the crease and he did not let up in his golden run of form. He got into his groove quickly after seeing off a hostile spell from Shami wherein he was hit on the helmet in the beginning of his innings.

Aaron was introduced in the eighth over and impressed with the pace he was able to generate, bowling consistently in excess of the 140 km/hr mark. But, he failed to provide a break-through as Dhoni brought on Jadeja in the 11th over, bowling him unchanged for an eight-over spell.

India conceded 15 additional runs in the first 10 overs itself and finished with 21 extras for the whole innings. The Black Caps crossed the 100-run mark in the 21st over to set the stage for a big total with Guptill and Williamson bringing up the second-highest second-wicket partnership for New Zealand in ODIs versus India with Williamson.

They put on 153 runs in 28.3 overs, passing 138 runs by Nathan Astle and Stephen Fleming (in 2001) at Colombo.

Williamson was dropped on 62 by Raina off the bowling of Shami but he could add just three runs before getting out to the same bowler in the 33rd over.

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