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Nov 9, 2010

Harbhajan Singh slams maiden century, match ends in draw

India found an unlikely batting hero in Harbhajan Singh, who produced a match-saving maiden Test century to turn his team to safety along with VVS Laxman as the first Test against New Zealand ended in a draw on Monday.

Harbhajan (115) notched up his only first class century and combined with experienced person, VVS Laxman (91) as the duo spoiled New Zealand's push for victory with a solid 163-run partnership for the 7th wicket.

Harbhajan SinghResuming their 2nd innings at a precarious 82/6, Laxman and Harbhajan saved India the blushes by batting carefully before the innings folded up for 266 shortly after the tea break for an overall lead of 294.

The Kiwis were 22 for one in their second innings before both captains decided to call off play.

It was Harbhajan who stole the spotlight on the final day's play and had it not been for his valiant batting effort, the story could have been quite different for the home team.

Harbhajan, who made his highest score of 69 in the 1st innings, achieved his dream of scoring a century in Test cricket. His 115 came off 193 balls and contained 13 boundaries and three sixes.

Harbhajan reached his maiden ton in style with a six off Vettori and held his bat in the air to return the applause of his teammates in the dressing room.

The stylish Laxman, who has bailed India out of many a crisis, was a picture of poise and concentration as he held the innings together and kept guiding Harbhajan.

Laxman was wrongly given out leg before wicket to rival team captain Daniel Vettori by umpire Steve Davis as TV replays showed the ball had deflected on to the pad off the inside edge of the bat.

Laxman and Harbhajan took India from a difficult 65 for six last evening at the fall of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wicket and were not separated till close to the tea interval when Vettori won the verdict against the former. The partnership was together for 10 minutes under four hours and faced 328 balls.

Man of the Match: Harbhajan Singh

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