Dravid’s ton, Broad’s hat-trick leaves second Test evenly poised (Roundup)

July 31st, 2011 - 1:14 am ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Nottingham, July 30 (IANS) India’s Rahul Dravid produced an innings of high quality in adverse conditions before England fought back through Stuart Broad, who took a hat-trick for a career best 6/46, leaving the second cricket Test evenly poised after two days of a gripping contest.

Dravid batted 235 balls for his 117 and shared a 128 run fifth wicket stand with Yuvraj Singh, who made a successful comeback to Test cricket with a fluent 62.

V.V.S. Laxman played elegantly for his 54 with 10 fours that set the pace for India in the morning.

But the rest of the Indian batsmen did not do justice to Dravid’s monumental effort. Broad triggered a collapse with the second new ball and India were bowled out for 288 with a lead of 67 runs. India, from a strong position of 267/4, lost six wickets for mere 21 runs.

At stumps, England were 24 for one with Andrew Strauss (6) and Ian Bell (9) at the crease. Ishant Sharma bowled beautifully to dismiss Alastair Cook (5) in the fourth over. The hosts now trail by 43 runs.

It was Broad again who got England back in the match with a superb new ball spell. The tall pacer had pulled England out of trouble Friday with a counterattacking 64 after the hosts were struggling at 124/8.

He got the breakthrough when he had Yuvraj caught behind. Broad then ran through the Indian lower order, taking a hat-trick.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) disappointed as he flashed at a Broad outswinger and was caught at second slip by James Anderson.

Broad then dismissed Harbhajan Singh lbw, though India paid dearly for keeping lbw reviews out of the Decision Review System. South African umpire Marais Erasmus wrongly adjudged Harbhajan lbw as the ball had hit his bat before hitting the pads.

Broad then bowled Praveen Kumar with a beautiful inswinger to complete his hat-trick. Tim Bresnan got the prized wicket of Dravid before Broad completed the formalities by dismissing Ishant.

Before that it was Dravid all along, stonewalling everything that came his way. He was a picture of patience and concentration as he adroitly negotiated the bounce and the movement the English bowlers produced relentlessly.

Resuming at overnight 24/1, Dravid and Laxman quickly added 69 runs, taking the fight to the opposition.

Bresnan got the wicket of Laxman and after that it was hard grind for Dravid.

Broad got Sachin Tendulkar, who cut close to his body and was caught by Strauss at first slip.
Suresh Raina was caught by Eoin Morgan at backward point.

Yuvraj, coming in the Test team after a long gap, was tentative at the start. He was dropped on four by Kevin Pietersen.

But he made good use of his life and together with Dravid steadied the ship ensuring that India go into the final session with an upper hand in the match.

Dravid, 38, was rock solid at the other end.

The two were tested by some high quality swing bowling from the trio of Anderson, Broad and Bresnan.

The Karnataka batsman struck 15 boundaries and equalled legendary Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 34 test centuries.
It was his second successive century in the series.

Yuvraj played his natural game and was quick to put the balls away.

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