England tour of India - Cricket: India 71/2 at stumps, England 407 all out

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 23:47 [IST]
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Ahemdabad: England all-rounder Craig White celebrated his birthday three days early with a maiden Test century in the second cricket Test against India at the Motera Stadium on Wednesday.White, who turns 32 on Sunday, made India pay dearly for fielding lapses as he cracked 121 under pressure to help England post an impressive 407 in the first innings.There were more frustrations in store for India, who lost openers Shiv Sunder Das and Deep Dasgupta in the closing session to reach 71 for two at stumps on the second day.Wicket-keeper Dasgupta, who had twice dropped White, also failed as a batsman as he contributed 17 before sweeping left-arm spinner Ashley Giles to Nasser Hussain at short fine-leg.England, unlike India, did not have to struggle for wickets as seamer Andrew Flintoff soon had Das (41) caught by Mark Butcher in the slips to put pressure on the hosts.Rahul Dravid was unbeaten on five and Sachin Tendulkar on two. The day belonged to White, whose first hundred in 23 Tests revived England's fortunes after the tourists had lost their top five wickets for 180 on a batting pitch on Tuesday.The Yorkshire all-rounder was a key figure in two fruitful partnerships, which eventually put his team in a position of strength as England added 227 for its last five wickets.White put on 59 for the sixth wicket with Mark Ramprakash on Tuesday and then continued the good work with a 105-run stand for the next wicket with wicket-keeper James Foster (40).He had both luck and pluck to keep the Indian attack at bay as he was let off three times during his 343-minute knock, which included two sixes off both from off spinner Harbhajan Singh deliveries and 12 fours.The minor consolation for India on a demoralising day was leg spinner Anil Kumble's first seven-wicket haul against England. His fine efforts, however, were not enough to contain England as none of his teammates could keep pressure from the other end.Kumble failed to upstage White, whose contribution came at the right time for England. The tourists were in danger of being restricted to a modest score at one stage on Tuesday, but White changed the course of the England innings.The hard-hitting batsman thwarted the Indians with his attacking display, reaching his half-century with a six over long-on off Harbhajan after surviving a stumping chance on 44 in the bowler's previous over.Fortune favoured the brave again as Dasgupta and Kumble dropped White on 63 and 67 off fast bowler Javagal Srinath. India could hardly afford to miss chances on a pitch, which favoured neither their seamers nor spinners.The second new ball, taken after 98 overs, did not produce instant success as White continued to bat comfortably and Foster kept defending resolutely. India had to rely on Kumble for its lone wicket of the first session, with Foster driving to mid-on where Tendulkar took a high catch. India, however, struck too late, for White and Foster had already piled up enough runs. The England wicket-keeper defied the Indian attack for 161 minutes, hitting four boundaries.There was, however, no stopping White, who exposed the Indian bowling with his firm and fluent driving on both sides of the wicket. He was the last batsman to be dismissed, bowled by Harbhajan just before tea. England, resuming at 277 for six, lost one wicket in the morning session and three in the second while adding 130 to its overnight total on a day, which produced just 201 runs.

Copyright AFP 2001

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