Dravid, Gambhir frustrate England (Roundup)

December 20th, 2008 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Mohali, Dec 20 (IANS) England came back well to bowl out India for 453 in the first innings after being frustrated by the 314-run stand between Gautam Gambhir (179) and Rahul Dravid (136) on the second day of the second cricket Test here Saturday.England openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook came out to bat but ended the day without facing a ball due to bad light at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium. Stumps were called with nine overs remaining for the day that started early by 30 minutes to make up for the first day’s loss of 18 overs.

Resuming at overnight 179/1, Dravid resurrected his career with his 26th Test century, while Gambhir played some audacious shots to dominate the first session, adding 123 runs in 33 overs.

But as the day progressed England clawed back into the game with some clever bowling from medium pacer Andrew Flintoff (3-54) and off-spinner Graeme Swann (3-122).

Gambhir lit up the gloomy morning with with two boundaries off a wayward Monty Panesar over and Dravid welcomed the new ball with consecutive fours as James Anderson offered room outside the off stump.

Dravid scored rapidly but unconvincingly to move to the 90s. He finally got the century, off 261 deliveries, flicking Anderson to fine leg as the sparse Mohali crowd gave him a standing ovation. The Indian dressing room and the England players also applauded Dravid, who himself remained subdued and just raised his bat to acknowledge the cheers. It was Dravid’s fourth century against England and only his second in 2008.

Gambhir crossed the 150-run mark by hitting two consecutive fours of Swann in the 30th over. He also crossed the 1,000 Test runs in 2008.

England captain Kevin Pietersen tried every trick to get a wicket but none succeeded. In a short span of the first 10 overs of the day, Pietersen used five bowlers - Stuart Broad, Flintoff, Swann, Panesar and Anderson.

Gambhir and Dravid stepped up the scoring rate after lunch and lost their wickets. In the fifth over after lunch, Gambhir tried to play inside out off Swann and mistimed it to Alastair Cook at backward point. Dravid followed soon as he spooned a catch to Panesar at mid-off. It triggered a mini collapse.

Swann then picked up Sachin Tendulkar (11) and Flintoff did further damage by trapping V.V.S. Laxman leg before wicket.

Flintoff could have bagged one more, but Cook dropped Yuvraj, on eight, in the gully shortly before the tea break. The post lunch session proved to be a disaster for India as they lost four wickets for just 52 runs.

Yuvraj (27) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29) added 40 runs but Panesar struck to remove Yuvraj and then picked up Harbhajan Singh (24). Dhoni’s attacking ploy did not long last and he gave away his wicket to Anderson.

Amit Mishra (23) tried to show some resistance but Flintoff came back to wrap up the tail.

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