Recalled Taylor keeps India at bay

An over-ruled umpiring decision and Wellington's weather may yet combine to thwart India's plans to seal their first test series victory on New Zealand soil for 41 years at the Basin Reserve.

The recall of Ross Taylor when he was nine runs into a defiant unbeaten 69 stymied India's progress on day four of the third test while the forecast is bleak for tomorrow's final day, heightening the BLACKCAPS chances of salvaging a draw.

After being set an impractical 617 for victory, New Zealand were locked in survival mode at 167 for four when bad light curtailed play for a second day running.

The end of daylight saving continues to affect the contest with 21 overs lost today in addition to 8.1 overs yesterday.

Taylor led New Zealand's rearguard action from No 4, his second fifty of the series preventing Harbhajan Singh orchestrating a quick kill.

Harbhajan's teammate Gautam Gambhir bullishly predicted New Zealand would be unable to survive until the close tomorrow and once the offspinner claimed the wickets of Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder in his 11th over to leave New Zealand listing at 84 for four, it seemed the forecast might be proved accurate.

But the innings received a boost when Taylor profited from the intervention of third umpire Tony Hill.

India felt Harbhajan had New Zealand's most experienced top order batsman caught at short leg when the score was 65 and although Australian umpire Simon Taufel agreed, Taylor was recalled as he was halfway back to the pavilion.

Taufel and compatriot Daryl Harper conferred and summoned New Zealander Hill to determine whether Gambhir had effected the catch. Replays indicated the ball brushed the ground before he slid his fingers underneath.

Taylor celebrated his reprieve, reaching 50 from 66 balls two overs into the final session.

By that stage he had established a useful partnership with James Franklin, on 26, that added an essential 83 for the fifth wicket.

New Zealand's plans to survive 5-1/2 sessions started poorly before lunch when opener Tim McIntosh was dismissed to a catch behind the wicket for the fifth and final time in the series.

The opener, whose debut series against the West Indies featured a maiden test century worth 136 in December, could not replicate that success against the Indian new ball attack and contributed just 60 runs at an average of 12.

New Zealand were 37 for one at lunch and suffered a serious slump in the middle session. Daniel Flynn, 10, played on Zaheer Khan when the score was 54.

Taylor and Guptill added 30 for the second wicket before Harbhajan, who finished with two for 36, could be denied no longer.

Guptill appeared set to embellish his debut international season with a maiden test fifty when he paid the price for playing back to Harbhajan on 49.

The delivery curled back on to his pad and Taufel had no hesitation in upholding the appeal.

Two balls later, Jesse Ryder's poor test with his new bat sponsor continued when he prodded an offbreak to Rahul Dravid at first slip to add a duck to his score of three in the first innings.

India sensed an early finish but Taylor and Franklin managed to quell Harbhajan's threat while part time spinner Virender Sehwag was also employed as the light faded, meaning the dangerous Khan had no scope to add to his seven-wicket match haul.

McIntosh became a historical footnote when he provided Dravid's 182nd test catch, a grab that placed the 36-year-old one clear of Australian Mark Waugh for most test catches.

Dravid, playing his 134th test, drew level with Waugh when he had Guptill caught on the opening morning of the series in Hamilton last month but then had to bide his time for the outright record after he dropped Daniel Vettori later in the first test and Taylor in the second at Napier.

New Zealand's leading pace bowler Chris Martin also reached a milestone this morning as India piled on another 85 runs to expand their lead from 531 before Mahendra Singh Dhoni declared on 434 for seven.

Martin had Yuvraj Singh caught by Taylor for 40 and when Tim Southee held Harbhajan Singh's top edged pull in the same over the 34-year-old joined Danny Morrison in fourth place on the list of New Zealand's test wicket takers with 160.

He ended the test with an analysis of seven for 168.

Dhoni, who restarted his innings on 16, declared five minutes after the lead ticked over to 600 when he was on 56.

NZPA

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