Karthik, Dravid shine as India dominate 1st day

Published: Friday, August 10, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Indian batsman Dinesh Karthik hits a six during his superb 91

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Sachin Tendulkar was threatening to make England pay for dropping himon 20 as India finished the first day of the third and final Test on316 for four at The Oval here Thursday.

Tendulkar was 48 not out and VVS Laxman 20 not out following an impressive 91 from opener Dinesh Karthik.

India,1-0 up, had merely to avoid defeat in this match to win only theirthird series in England in 15 campaigns dating back to 1932.

England, by contrast, had to win to maintain their six-year unbeaten run in home Test series.

Itseemed as if India, whose captain Rahul Dravid won the toss on abelting batting pitch, were threatening to put the game beyondEngland's reach before the first day ended when they were 189 for one.

ButEngland, with James Anderson taking two wickets, fought back to haveIndia 211 for three at tea. Tendulkar was two not out and SouravGanguly eight not out in what could be both players last Test inEngland.


-arm spinner Monty Panesar then saw Tendulkar, his childhood hero,strike him over extra-cover for four. Ganguly later drove Panesar for astraight six.

But Tendulkar should have been outwhen he edged Ryan Sidebottom only for wicket-keeper Matt Prior, whomoved late, to drop the diving catch despite getting both hands to theball with India 245 for three in the 67th over.

Itwas bad miss by Prior, whose footwork while keeping, and fondness forsledging, have both been criticised this series and he ended the dayhaving conceded 21 byes.

As for -arm quickSidebottom, who repeatedly beat the bat during India's seven-wicketsecond Test win at Trent Bridge while taking just a solitary wicket, itwas yet another instance of bad luck.

The same could not be said of medium-pacer Paul Collingwood.

Broughton shortly before the new ball was taken, he struck with his 12thdelivery when Ganguly was given out lbw for 37, despite the formerEngland skipper getting a thick inside edge onto his pad.

It was a poor decision by South African umpire Ian Howell, standingin just his ninth Test in six years, and Ganguly did well to manage nomore than a rueful smile as he walked off following a stand of 77 withTendulkar.

India were now 276 for four.

They had resumed after lunch on 117 for one with Karthik 50 not out and Dravid 25 not out.

Inthe second over after the break Karthik, on 58, gave a sharp chancewhen he was dropped at short extra-cover by Andrew Strauss following adrive off Panesar.

Dravid, who in India's lastTest at The Oval five years ago scored 217, responded to Englandcounterpart Michael Vaughan's decision to post two fielders close in atshort extra-cover by driving Panesar between the pair of them for four.

Hewent on to complete an 82-ball fifty with eight fours. But a stand of127 was ended when Dravid, on 55, was bowled by Anderson's yorker.

No India batsman has so far made a hundred in this series but itseemed as if Karthik, whose lone Test century came against minnowsBangladesh earlier this year, was about to end that sequence.

But nine runs short he played at a ball angled across him from Sidebottom and Prior held the straightforward chance.

India had now seen 189 for two become 199 for three. Karthik faced 151 balls with one six and 10 fours.

WasimJaffer was first out, caught following an uppercut for a dashing 35when going well by Kevin Pietersen at third man off Anderson, havingpreviously cut the bowler for six in the same region.


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