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Dhoni’s men end 33-year drought

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SPINS INDIA TO WIN: Harbhajan Singh proved a point against the Kiwis in the first Test at Hamilton.
SPINS INDIA TO WIN: Harbhajan Singh proved a point against the Kiwis in the first Test at Hamilton.

Special Correspondent

Chennai: India scored one of its most significant Test victories on Saturday as it beat the Kiwis in New Zealand after 33 years. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men defeated the host by 10 wickets on the fourth day of the first Test at Hamilton to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Harbhajan Singh’s six for 63 – the off-spinner’s 23rd five-wicket haul in Tests – ensured there would be no comebacks for New Zealand. Having conceded a 241-run lead in the first innings, the Kiwis were dismissed for 279.

India took just 32 balls to reach the target of 39; Gautam Gambhir was unbeaten on 30 and Rahul Dravid on 8. India is seeking its first Test series triumph in New Zealand since 1968.

Skipper Dhoni said: “If we can win the series, that will be the best gift the team gives to Sachin [Tendulkar] and Rahul [Dravid].”

Maestro Tendulkar was adjudged Man of the Match for his influential 160 in the first innings. “It’s great to play with Sachin. Whenever he scores those big hundreds, you cannot see anything better,” said Dhoni.

He rated Harbhajan among the best spinners in world cricket. “He got us important wickets at the right time,” said Dhoni.

Earlier, New Zealand resumed at 75 for three and continued to lose wickets at regular intervals at Seddon Park. Only the left-handed Daniel Flynn (67) and the aggressive wicket-keeper batsman Brendon McCullum (84) offered a measure of resistance.

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