Sehwag makes Kiwis suffer

Opener cracks magnificent 173, Dravid chips in with hundred

By Graeme Mair.   Last Updated: 05/11/10 11:03am

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Sehwag: peppered the boundary

Sehwag: peppered the boundary

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Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid scored centuries as India piled up 329-3 on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand in Ahmedabad.

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The second-wicket pair batted throughout the middle session in compiling a 237-run stand.

Sehwag was eventually bowled by Daniel Vettori for 173, his 22nd Test century, shortly before Dravid completed a hundred of his own.

Dravid, who has now brought up three figures in Tests on 30 occasions, also departed before stumps, playing on off Chris Martin for 104.

But Sachin Tendulkar (13no) and VVS Laxman (7no) saw India through the final half-hour to the close without further loss.

Debuts

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first on a bare surface at the Sardar Patel Stadium.

New Zealand, who handed debuts to seam bowler Hamish Bennett and batsman Kane Williamson, immediately found the going tough as India openers Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag put on 60 in 12 overs.

Jesse Ryder (1-44), returning to New Zealand's Test side for the first time in over a year following injury problems, made the lone breakthrough in the morning session.

The medium pacer tempted Gambhir (21) into a drive that resulted in an inside edge back onto his stumps with the final delivery of his first over.

But any thoughts the tourists harboured of making inroads into the middle order were quickly erased as Sehwag and Dravid took up residence for the next five hours.

New Zealand missed three clear chances to break the partnership, firstly when wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins, stood up at the stumps to Ryder, dropped Dravid on 28.

And much later Sehwag was given lives on 144 and 155 when off-spinner Jeetan Patel (0-79) was unable to hold onto a scorching return chance and substitute fielder Martin Guptill grassed a top-edged slog-sweep to deny part-time spinner Williamson (0-31) a maiden scalp.

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Sehwag had appeared keen to showcase his full range of strokes throughout and brought up a 111-ball century in early afternoon with a lofted boundary off Vettori.

India had advanced to 243-1, and Sehwag beyond 150 for the 14th time in Tests, at tea before the Black Caps rallied to claim two wickets in the final session.

A tiring Sehwag was bowled via his pads by Vettori (1-69), ending a 199-ball stay featuring 24 fours and a six.

And Dravid, having hit 14 fours, followed for 104, playing on attempting to cut a wide offering from Martin (1-51).

Tendulkar and Laxman negotiated the final six overs of the day without alarm and will resume on the second morning with the opportunity to press on towards a mammoth first-innings total.

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