Taylor brings up century before rain halts play

Taylor hits second century of the series

Ross Taylor made the most of a reprieve to craft his second century of the series but the BLACKCAPS still faced a heavy defeat as the third and final cricket test against India wound down at the Basin Reserve.

Recalled on nine yesterday after television replays showed he had been mistakenly given out to a bumped ball catch, Taylor produced a resolute 107 as New Zealand tried to deny India a 2-0 series victory.

Set a massive 617 to square the series, the hosts were in trouble at 254 for seven at lunch on the final day after losing the wickets of Taylor, vice-captain Brendon McCullum and allrounder James Franklin

Rain delays play in middle session

Showers delayed play 6.3 overs into the middle session when New Zealand were clinging on at 281 for eight, still 336 runs short of their victory target.

India need two wickets to complete a 2-0 series victory.

Captain Daniel Vettori was unbeaten on 15 and Iain O'Brien was not out 19 when the players retreated to the pavilion one ball after India took the second new ball.

BLACKCAPS started the day on 167 for four

After resuming this morning on 167 for four, New Zealand now need to survive another two session to salvage a draw.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bowl Sachin Tendulkar for the first time on tour shortly after noon proved a masterstroke as the part-time spinner took two for 26 from six overs.

Taylor had earlier advanced from his overnight score of 69 during an extended morning session.

He required another 64 balls to reach his century, which arrived when an uppish flick off Harbhajan Singh flew between wicketkeeper Dhoni and Virender Sehwag at leg gully for his 15th boundary.

Taylor's hundred was the 25-year-old's second in consecutive tests, following his 151 in the drawn second test at Napier last week.

Record for the fifth wicket against India

He provided the bulk of a record fifth-wicket stand for New Zealand against India of 142 with Franklin, but was dismissed nine balls after celebrating his century when he was beaten by a full pitched delivery from Harbhajan.

Taylor and Franklin eclipsed the previous partnership record of 140 compiled by Craig McMillan and Adam Parore at Hamilton in 1999.

The end of Taylor's 4-1/2 hour innings was followed soon after by McCullum, who failed to profit from a letoff when he had yet to score.

McCullum was dropped third ball by Munaf Patel off Tendulkar but the Indian legend claimed New Zealand's vice-captain for six when he was caught at slip by Rahul Dravid.

In his next over Tendulkar then ended Franklin's innings on 49 when the left-hander played back to a ball that thudded into his pads.

Franklin spent 250 minutes at the crease, faced 171 balls and struck seven boudnaries.

Harbhajan takes three

Harbhajan had the leading figures of three for 55 from 30 overs al though Tendulkar's cameo dominated the session.

NZPA

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