Dravid scores 35th century, India follow on (Tea report)

August 21st, 2011 - 10:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag London, Aug 21 (IANS) A defiant Rahul Dravid remained unbeaten on 146 even as India collapsed to 300 in the first innings on the fourth day of the fourth Test against England here Sunday.

Asked to follow on, the visitors began the second innings staring at a huge first innings deficit of 291 runs. The man in form, Dravid (7) came out to open with Virender Sehwag (16) and the two played out the six overs before tea with India reaching 25/0 and still behind England’s mammoth 591/6 by 266 runs.

Sehwag managed to survive the first over for the first time in four innings and stroked three fours.

Earlier, the visitors lost Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first session, before Dravid and Amit Mishra (43) forged a 87-run stand for the seventh wicket.

Mishra’s gritty knock was brought to an end by a brilliant catch from a diving Ian Bell behind square off Tim Bresnan (3-54).

Gautam Gambhir, who could not bat Saturday due to mild concussion, lasted 62 balls for his 10 runs before being done in by a short delivery from Stuart Broad (2-51). Dravid, who struck 20 fours in his resolute 266-ball knock, added 40 runs with Gambhir.

R.P. Singh made 25 with five fours before Bresnan (3-54) got him and S. Sreesanth within a space of two balls to bring India’s innings to an end.

It was again Dravid all along who guided India as he has done throughout the series. But with no support from the other end, his efforts failed to boost India’s total. It was the first time in six innings that India managed to touch 300, a pointer to the performance of the batsmen, who have struggled to negotiate the seaming and swinging conditions.

The English attack has bowled with pace and swing. Dravid, however, has looked like batting on a different wicket and zone than his teammates.

Dravid stood tall amid the ruins to bring up his 35th century and nudged India to 218/6 at lunch.

The visitors, resuming at 103/5, lost Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17) after addition of just 32 runs. The Indian captain was dismissed by James Anderson with another crafty away-going delivery.

Mishra then lent support to Dravid at the other end.

Dravid, the lone Indian batsmen to put up a fight in the series, scored his third century of the series which took him past Sunil Gavaskar’s 34th career ton. He is now fourth in the list of number of centuries scored after Sachin Tendulkar (51), Jacques Kallis (40) and Ricky Ponting (39).

The ‘Wall’, beginning the day on 57, brought up his century with a cut off Tim Bresnan. He took 168 balls and struck 15 fours.

Dravid and Mishra scored 81 runs at a brisk pace, with the latter freeing his arms against the spinners.

Mishra hit six fours and came out a long way to send Graeme Swann (3-102) soaring over the long on boundary for a straight six on the last ball before lunch.

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