Karthik gets India off to bright start at the Oval

Published: Thursday, August 9, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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London: India made a solid start to the final Test against England at The Oval here as they looked to win only their third series in the country.

At lunch, on the first day of the third Test, India were 117 for one with opener Dinesh Karthik 50 not out and captain Rahul Dravid, who'd won the toss and chosen to bat on a good pitch with his side 1-0 up in the series, unbeaten on 25.

Karthik had so far faced 77 balls including six fours, sharing fifty stands with both fellow opener Wasim Jaffer and Dravid.

Jaffer was the only man out in the morning, caught for a dashing 35 when going well by Kevin Pietersen off James Anderson.

India, 1-0 up in the series, went 20 balls without scoring before Jaffer uppercut Anderson over the slips and down to third man. Three balls later Jaffer drove him down the ground for another boundary.

On a pitch where a 'tennis-ball' bounce meant any delivery short of a length sat up, Jaffer cut Anderson for six when the pace bowler pitched wide outside off-stump.

And when -arm quick Ryan Sidebottom over-pitched, Jaffer on-drove him for four before clipping him off his legs for another boundary.

First change Chris Tremlett, who'd been passed fit following concerns over a shoulder problem, had an lbw appeal against Karthik, then on five, rightly turned down by umpire Ian Howell with replays indicating the ball would have gone over the top of the stumps.

The first wicket duo's fifty partnership came up in 81 balls.

But soon afterwards Jaffer gave his wicket away when he cut a short ball from Anderson to Pietersen, standing several yards in from the boundary at third man.

The bowler's reaction suggested Jaffer, whose innings featured a six and six fours, had fallen into a deliberate trap. What was certain was that India were now 62 for one in the 15th over.

Dravid, who during India's last Test at The Oval five years ago scored 217, got off the mark with a controlled cut off Anderson.

England captain Michael Vaughan, with India 82 for one off 19 overs, introduced -arm spinner Monty Panesar into the attack but he couldn't make a breakthrough in his five pre-lunch overs.

Both sides were unchanged from the teams that played the second Test at Trent Bridge where India won by seven wickets.
Brief Scores (at lunch, D-1):
India 117 for 1 (Karthik 50 n o, Jaffer 35, Dravid 25 n o; Anderson 1 for 46) Vs England

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