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India beats NZ by 10 wickets

GAUTAM Gambhir and Rahul Dravid safely guided India to a comfortable 10-wicket victory over New Zealand on the fourth day of the first test in Hamilton yesterday.

Gambhir finished on 30 not out, while Dravid was on eight after Harbhajan Singh had ripped through New Zealand's second innings with figures of six for 63 to set up the win - India's first in New Zealand since 1976, when it won by eight wickets at Auckland. It has not won a test series in New Zealand since 1968.

India had scored 520 in its first innings, anchored by man of the match Sachin Tendulkar's 160, and New Zealand needed to make at least 241 to force India to bat a second time.

However, it collapsed to 216 for eight at tea on the fourth day, and it was only a stubborn 76-run ninth wicket stand between Brendon McCullum (84) and Iain O'Brien (14) that allowed the hosts to give India a small target to chase.

New Zealand was always up against it after losing six wickets in the first session of the match yesterday, captain Daniel Vettori admitting his side had been outplayed from start to finish.

"We were outplayed in all three facets. In every aspect India showed us how to do it in this test match," Vettori told reporters.

"Against a quality side like India you have to put 30-35 balls in a row to create pressure and give ourselves an opportunity to win."

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni called the victory "very special." "Overall it was a good team effort," he said. "Test cricket is all about winning session after session and obviously Sachin and Harbhajan performed exceedingly well."

New Zealand had started the day in dire straits at 75 for three and its hopes of forcing the game into a final day ended when Harbhajan ripped through the batting, capturing five wickets for 45 runs before tea.

The hosts lost Ross Taylor (four) and Jesse Ryder in the morning to limp to lunch on 146-5 then three more wickets by tea.

Wide delivery

Taylor batted for almost an hour for just four runs before his concentration gave way and he departed with the total on 110, deflecting a wide delivery from paceman Munaf Patel to Virender Sehwag at gully.

First innings centurion Ryder then tried to raise the tempo with a quick 21 off 27 balls before he was trapped by Harbhajan, who picked up all three wickets to fall in the middle session to complete his 23rd five-wicket haul in tests.

In Cape Town, A.B. de Villiers smashed 163 to lift South Africa to a record score of 651 all out on the third day of the third test against Australia yesterday.

South Africa was all out on the stroke of tea after establishing a first-innings lead of 442 by making its highest total in tests against Australia, which leads the three-match series 2-0 and conceded a test record 62 extras.

Ashwell Prince made 150 and Jacques Kallis 102 for the hosts.


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