Dravid, Pathan steady India in second Test

Published: Sunday, March 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mohali:Skipper Rahul Dravid scored a solid 95 and Irfan Pathan cracked a brisk half-century to steady India in the second Test against England here.

The Indian captain added 76 crucial runs for the sixth wicket with lower-order batsman Pathan (52) as the hosts reached 269-7 at lunch on the fourth day in reply to England's first-innings 300.

Anil Kumble was on 10 at the break on Sunday with Harbhajan Singh (seven).

England seamer Andrew Flintoff grabbed two wickets and fast bowler Steve Harmison one in an absorbing morning session to keep alive their team's hopes of gaining a lead in the three-match series after the first Test was drawn.

India were in trouble when they lost their fifth wicket with the total on 153 before being propped up by Dravid and Pathan.

Dravid looked set to complete his 23rd Test century before he inside-edged a Flintoff delivery on to his stumps, much to the disappointment of a sizeable crowd.

The Indian captain, who was on 60 in his team's overnight total of 149-4, faced 208 balls and hit 10 fours, including three in an over from seamer Liam Plunkett Sunday morning.

Dravid batted cautiously in the opening hour while left-handed Pathan went for big shots, once edging left-arm spinner Monty Panesar for a four and lofting the next ball over long-off for a six.

Pathan cracked one six and five fours in his sixth Test half-century before being caught by Paul Collingwood at backward point off Flintoff.

Flintoff was not the only bowler to impress as Harmison also troubled the batsmen with pace and bounce in his sharp six-over opening spell.

Harmison dismissed hard-hitting Mahendra Dhoni and then tested Dravid and Pathan.

Dhoni smashed Harmison for a four through the covers before being surprised by extra bounce in the same over, the ball brushing the batsman's gloves on the way to wicket-keeper Geraint Jones.

The Indian wicket-keeper had added just four to his overnight 12.

Harmison also beat Dravid twice and then had a confident appeal for caught behind against Pathan rightly turned down by Australian umpire Simon Taufel.

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