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Jaffer, Dravid consolidate after loss of Sehwag

Published: Thursday, March 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Nagpur:India lost Virender Sehwag early but Wasim Jaffer continued his good form of the season striking a neat unbeaten 28 as the hosts reached 41 for one in reply to England's 393 first innings' score at tea on the second day of the first Test being played here today.

At tea break, Jaffer (28) and Rahul Dravid (five) were holding fort for the hosts.

India, beginning their reply to England's healthy first innings score, started with Jaffer driving Matthew Hoggard in his first over for a boundary.

Jaffer, who was strong on anything on a leg-side then turned his attention to Steve Harmison as he executed another brilliant on-drive for a boundary.

However, India suffered a big setback in Hoggard's next over as Sehwag could not keep down a cover drive and Kevin Pietersen at cover made no mistake in accepting the catch. Sehwag made just two runs and the Indian score was 11 at that time.

The loss of Sehwag did not seem to deter Jaffer as he played sensibly keeping out the good balls and making full use of the bad ones. He drove Harmison through mid-off for a boundary and then chose the other side for another on-driven four off the same bowlder.

The introduction of Andrew Flintoff into the attack saw Jaffer flicking him for two boundaries behind square.

At the other end, captain Rahul Dravid was as composed and perfect in his technique as ever and he did not have any problem in negotiating the English bowlers, especially Hoggard who was getting a bit of swing early on.

Flintoff brought debutant left arm spinner Monty Panesar an over before tea, but he was also negotiated safely by the Indian batsmen.

Earlier, Paul Collingwood struck a brilliant maiden Test century, toying with the Indian bowling and in the company of tail-enders took England to 393 after it had been reduced to 246 for seven.

At the end, Collingwood remained not out with 134 which came after facing 252 deliveries and were studded with 13 fours and four sixers.

Collingwood prospered in the company of the tail enders, putting on 60 runs with Harmison for the ninth wicket and then a further 66 for the last wicket with Panesar to bail England out of trouble on a good batting wicket.

After the early deparure of Hoggard, Collingwood smartly allowed Harmison to take more strike as the latter was striking the ball neatly and in the gaps.

Harmison enjoyed himself in the middle as he took on the most impressive bowler for India on day one, debutant S Sreesanth, hitting him for three consecutive boundaries - the first being a perfect cover drive followed by a sliced four to third man and then a perfect hook shot to square leg.

However, Harmison, after hitting Harbhajan Singh to the long-on boundary took on the offie once too many time and was beaten in flight and missed the ball for M S Dhoni to complete a simple stumping.

After the departure of Harmison, Collingwood attacked the bowling with gusto, hitting Harbhajan for a six to reach 99 and then taking on pace man Irfan Pathan, hitting him for a six and a four to the long on boundary.

Panesar also supported Collingwood before being out for nine, leg before, to Sreesanth as the innings folded up for 393.

For India Sreesanth was the most successful bowler with 4 for 95, while Pathan returned with three for 92.

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