Patel, Dravid consolidate India's position

Published: Wednesday, April 14, 2004, 18:30 [IST]
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Rawalpindi: Parthiv Patel and Rahul Dravid put on 119 for the unbroken second wicket to help India consolidate in the third and final cricket Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

The overnight pair batted through the morning session of the second day to take the total from 23 for one to 119 without further loss by lunch at the Rawalpindi stadium on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old Patel followed his unbeaten 62 in the second Test at Lahore with a career-best 65 not out.

Dravid was unbeaten on 46, leaving India 105 runs behind Pakistan's modest first innings score of 224 with nine wickets in hand.

The rivals are seeking to break the 1-1 deadlock in the series, their first on Pakistan soil since 1989.

India won the first Test at Multan by an innings and 52 runs and Pakistan drew level at Lahore last week with a nine-wicket triumph.

Patel and Dravid came to the crease late on Tuesday when Virender Sehwag was dismissed off the first ball of the innings, fending a short ball from Shoaib Akhtar to gully.

The pair saw off the immediate threat from the Pakistani fast bowlers on a wicket that played easier than on the first day when it afforded considerable assistance to the Indian seamers.

Patel was given the task of opening the innings for only the second time in a Test match after captain Sourav Ganguly made a late decision to keep himself and Yuvraj Singh in the middle order.

The young man responded superbly, holding the fort for three hours in his third Test half-century.

He reached his 50 by steering Fazl-e-Akbar for his ninth boundary and then surpassed his previous best of 62 with a 10th four, an exquisite cover drive off Mohammad Sami.

At the other end, the seasoned Dravid settled in with five boundaries to frustrate the home team in the make-or-break Test.

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