India saunter to series lead

India followed up their maiden one-day series triumph on New Zealand soil by crushing their hosts by 10 wickets in the first test at Seddon Park today to erase a 33-year blight on their cricketing record.

A week after completing a 3-1 one-day series win India ended a 13-test winless streak in New Zealand by securing their first test success since the legendary Sunil Gavaskar's side won by eight wickets in Auckland in 1976.

Thoroughly dominant after the BLACKCAPS plunged to 61 for six on the opening morning, India loped to victory with more than a day to spare.

Set an academic 39 for victory, Gautam Gambhir hit 30 not out and Rahul Dravid eight not out in just 5.2 overs to achieve their goal.

Offspinner Harbhajan Singh earlier claimed career-best figures against New Zealand of six for 63 as any hope of a lopsided contest surviving into tomorrow's final day diminished.

Harbhajan took five of the seven wickets to fall as New Zealand steadily deteriorated from 75 for three overnight to 279 all out midway through the final session.

He improved his previous best against New Zealand -- three for 34 at Kanpur a decade ago -- with 28 overs of toil.

Daniel Flynn provided the only tangible resistance among New Zealand's top order.

The gritty left-hander had the satisfaction of recording his third test half-century from 118 balls before he was caught in close off Harbhajan for 62, grafted over for nearly five hours.

Flynn alone among the New Zealanders showed the temperament and gumption necessary to occupy the crease for long periods when it was needed most.

McCullum eventually topscored with 84 although his runs were accumulated when India lapsed into defence mode despite taking the new ball when it was due.

New Zealand's vice-captain added 76 for the ninth wicket with Iain O'Brien, who made 14 from 45 balls in 100 minutes, as India appeared to be going through the motions.

Defeat by an innings was a real prospect when Daniel Vettori was eighth out when the score was 199 but McCullum and O'Brien ensured New Zealand avoided that indignity.

He struck 85 including 11 boundaries from 135 balls before holing out to Yuvraj Singh.

Condemned to survival mode since India's amassed 520 in the first innings, New Zealand had also pinned their hopes on Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder supplying substantial contributions.

But Taylor's usual fluency was absent as he laboured for almost an hour to make four off 30 balls while Ryder was leg before wicket for 21.

James Franklin also fell tamely to Harbhajan's armoury for 14 and when Flynn's stout, 183-ball resistance ended as Gambhir took a bat pad ricochet at short leg, New Zealand were never likely to muster a challenging runchase.

The series now moves to Napier where the second test is held at McLean Park starting on Thursday.

NZPA

Day three: BLACKCAPS 75 for three, trail India by 166

The BLACKCAPS were 75 for three in their second innings at stumps on the third day of the first cricket test against India at Seddon Park here today.

New Zealand still require 166 to make India bat again after the tourists replied to the hosts' first innings of 279 on Wednesday by posting 520.

Daniel Flynn is unbeaten on 24 while Ross Taylor will join him tomorrow after nightwatchman Kyle Mills was dismissed leg before wicket for two by Munaf Patel on the last ball off the day.

Sachin Tendulkar top scored for India with 160, his 42nd test century.

Day two: India 278 for four at stumps, trail BLACKCAPS by one run

India trailed the BLACKCAPS first innings of 279 by one run when bad light stopped play 6.1 overs before the scheduled close of the second day of the first cricket test at Seddon Park.

India were 278 for four after resuming at the start of the day on 29 without loss.

Sachin Tendulkar was unbeaten on 70 and Yuvraj Singh was not out on eight when India's batsmen were offered the light.

Chris Martin took two for 53 to be New Zealand's most successful bowler.

Day one: India 29-0 in reply to BLACKCAPS 279 at stumps day one

India were 29 without loss in reply to the BLACKCAPS 279 at stumps on day one of the first cricket test at Seddon Park.

Virender Sehwag (22) and Gautam Gambhir (6) safely negotiated the seven overs available before stumps.

Captain Daniel Vettori top scored with 118 -- his third test century -- while Jesse Ryder brought up his maiden test ton the ball before his dismissal for 102 ended the innings.

Ishant Sharma was the leading Indian bowler with four for 73 from 19.2 overs.

NZPA

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