Majestic Sachin defies England, India still trails by 161

Published: Sunday, August 18, 2002, 6:20 [IST]
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Nottingham: Sachin Tendulkar stood firm against the England attack with a run-a-ball 56 not out as India fought back on the fourth day of the second Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday. At stumps India was 99 for two in its second innings, still 161 behind England's mammoth first innings 617. Tendulkar had struck 11 boundaries in his score, while Rahul Dravid hit seven fours in his unbeaten 34 when bad light ended play for the day. It was an impressive recovery by India.

Already 0-1 down in the four-Test series, it had been nought for one and then 11 for two as its second innings got off to a wretched start. But by the time bad light forced an earlier 40-minute stoppage Dravid and Tendulkar had shared a stand of 51 in 59 balls. Tendulkar appeared determined to put three low scores in this series behind him and re-assert his position as the world's best batsman. He produced a magnificent back foot forcing shot off Matthew Hoggard for four and stroked him for two more boundaries in the same over.

And, as play resumed in bright sunshine, he twice straight drove the swing bowler for textbook boundaries. In between those shots Hoggard took more punishmennt from Tendulkar, a cover-driven four bringing up his 50 from 44 balls including 10 fours. Tendulkar had already reached another milestone, when on 48 he passed England great Geoffrey Boycott's mark of 8,114 runs to move into eighth place in the all-time list of Test run scorers. Earlier first innings centurion Virender Sehwag went lbw to Hoggard for a second-ball duck, the batsman not playing a shot after taking half a pace forward. And in the second over India lost its other opener, Wasim Jaffer, lbw to Andrew Flintoff's fourth delivery for five.

By the time it was bowled out at tea, England's reply to the tourists' 357 was its highest total since they made 653 for four declared, against India, at Lord's in 1990. But, disappointingly for England, Craig White was left stranded on 94 not out. He could only watch as debutant last man Steve Harmison (three) was caught by Jaffer at backward point off medium-pacer Ajit Agarkar. White faced 119 balls including 12 fours and also launched off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for a straight six. White, who posted his second successive Test 50, received excellent support from Yorkshire teammate Hoggard, who made a career-best 32.

Their stand of 103 was an England ninth-wicket record against India, surpassing the 83 shared by Keith Fletcher and Norman Gifford at Madras. It was eventually broken when Hoggard was caught at first slip by Dravid off left-arm quick Ashish Nehra.He faced 102 balls and hit three fours. England was 468 for seven at lunch, an already healthy lead of 111 built on the foundations of Yorkshire batsman Michael Vaughan's Test-best 197 on Saturday.

White and fellow all-rounder Dominic Cork added 60 in 91 balls before Harbhajan broke through when he had the Derbyshire captain caught at short leg by Jaffer for 31. England was then 493 for eight and duly passed 500 for the fourth time in five Tests. Fortunately for India, left-arm quick Zaheer Khan shone early on, taking two wickets for one run in three balls after England resumed on 341 for five. He clean bowled both Flintoff (33) and Alec Stewart (87), manfully leading the attack with figures of three for 110.

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