India pulled off a dramatic last ball tie against New Zealand in the third One-day International here Saturday to stay alive in the five-match series. India, chasing 315, looked down and out at 184 for six in the 36th over before a 85-run stand between Ravichandran Ashwin (65) and Ravindra Jadeja (66 not out) brought them back in the game. Ashwin departed but Jadeja took the game to the last over where India needed 18 runs for their fist win of the tour. The visitors managed 17, denying New Zealand a famous series win after they came out on top in the first two games. All-rounder Corey Anderson (5-63), who came handy with the bat at Napier and Hamilton, almost turned from hero to zero at Eden Park.
Anderson did not fire with the bat this time but took his team on the brink of victory with a maiden-five wicket haul. He, however, faltered in the 50th over of India’s innings, conceding two wides, two fours and six which Jadeja hit off the penultimate ball. India, now needing a couple for the last ball, could only pick a single after Jadeja played a full delivery to the man at mid-off. Ashwin and captain Dhoni (50) too played a part in enforcing the draw. Dhoni fell after scoring his third consecutive fifty of the series. Aswhin departed to make it 269 for seven, his team needing another 46 off 31 balls. Earlier, Opener Martin Guptill (111 off 129 balls) and Kane Williamson (65) had guided New Zealand to 314 after Dhoni opted to chase once again. Guptill shared a 153-run stand with Kane Williamson (65) to set the foundation for an imposing total before Luke Ronchi (38 off 20) and Tim Southee (27 off 23) provided the late flourish. Spinners Ashwin (1-47) and Jadeja (2-47) were the most economical of the Indian bowlers.
The pacers bowled plenty of short balls throughout the innings without much success. Guptill and Williamson revelled in opposition tactics, dismissing the short balls all around the park. The shorter straights made six-hitting easier with the ball sailing into the stands on 10 occasions. Guptill’s fifth ODI hundred comprised 12 fours and two sixes. Barring Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-48), the Indian speedsters proved expensive. Replacing Ishant Sharma with Varun Aaron did not work as latter leaked 52 runs in seven overs. The in-form Mohammed Shami had a bad day at the office, giving away 84 runs in 10 overs. IANS