* New Zealand reach 237-4 at close, lead by 115 runs
* Harbhajan hits second successive hundred
* Vettori picks up five wickets
(Updates at close)
HYDERABAD,India (Reuters) - New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum stood firm with his sixth test hundred on Monday to leave the second test against India evenly poised.
At the close on the penultimate day, New Zealand reached 237 for four wickets to take an overall lead of 115. McCullum (124) and Kane Williamson (12) were at the crease.
McCullum and his opening partner Tim McIntosh wiped off India’s lead of 122 runs with their first century partnership of the series.
An attacking McCullum and a watchful McIntosh (49) added 125 runs for the first wicket before the latter got an inside edge off his pads to be caught at short leg off Pragyan Ojha.
Right-handed McCullum used his feet well against the Indian spinners and hit 11 boundaries and three sixes during his unbeaten knock. He toned down his approach as the ball got old and the hosts started making regular breakthroughs.
Ojha picked up his second wicket when Martin Guptill (18) got an edge to India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps. Shanthakumaran Sreesanth reverse swung the ball to breach Ross Taylor’s (7) defence while Jesse Ryder (20) edged part-time off-spinner Suresh Raina to Dhoni.
India’s attack was handicapped by the absence of paceman Zaheer Khan, who could not bowl later in the day after a lengthy absence off the field. He left the ground midway through his fifth over, reportedly suffering an abdominal strain.
Earlier, spinner Harbhajan Singh shone with the bat once more as he hit his second consecutive hundred to extend India’s first innings lead on the fourth morning at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
The Indian off-spinner continued tormenting the visitors with an unbeaten 111, following scores of 69 and 115 in the first test, and bludgeoned the New Zealand attack with seven fours and seven sixes to bring up his second test century.
Harbhajan added 105 runs for the final wicket with Sreesanth, who provided able support with 24 off 71 deliveries, before the hosts were dismissed for 472 in response to New Zealand’s 350.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori (5-135) trapped Sreesanth leg before to complete his 19th five-wicket haul in tests.