India stumble in Mohali Test (Tea Report)

December 20th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Mohali (Punjab), Dec 20 (IANS) England came back strongly with off-spinner Grame Swann picking up three wickets to reduce India to 356 for five at tea on the second day of the second cricket Test here Saturday.Swann’s triple strike saw India losing four wickets in the second session after centurions Gautam Gambhir (179) and Rahul Dravid (136) dominated the first session’s play in overcast conditions at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium.

At the tea break, Yuvraj Singh was batting on 12 and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on six. Play started 30 minutes ahead of schedule to make up for the loss of overs on the first day.

Resuming at 179/1, Gambhir set the tone 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 to his 26th Test 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 Graeme Swann in the 30th over of the morning session. He also crossed the 1,000-run mark in Tests 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, Andrew Flintoff, Graeme Swann, Panesar and Anderson.

Runs flowed freely in the morning session as 123 runs came in 33 overs and India took lunch at 302 for one.

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 Monty Panesar at mid-off. It triggered a mini collapse.

Swann also picked up Sachin Tendulkar (11). 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.

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