Dravid stars before England hit back

Published: Saturday, December 20, 2008, 17:12 [IST]
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 India wrapped up for 453 in first innings

Mohali: England bounced back strongly on the second day of the second Test in Mohali, dismissing India for 453 after taking the final nine wickets for 133 runs.

Andrew Flintoff (3-54) and Graeme Swann (3-122) were the pick of the bowlers for England, who were not required to bat as the bad light stopped before the English batsmen could get out to the crease.

Earlier India resuming on 179 for one, Gambhir and Dravid extended their partnership to establish India's second-wicket record against England - and their second-highest for any wicket.


Dravid, reaffirming that class is permanent and form is temporary, hit his 26th century that is probably one of the most important centuries of his career because of the constant criticism he was getting from the self-styled cricket critics who were even questioning his place in the side. It was Dravid's first century in 20 Test innings. His knock contained 17 fours.

Gambhir and Dravid broke the record partnership between a left-hander and right-hander that was of 281 runs and stood in the name of Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly that came against New Zealand at Ahmedabad in 1999. When he reached 143, Gambhir became the fourth Indian after Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman to complete 1000 Test runs in the calendar year.

But India's second-highest stand for any wicket against England was finally broken when Gambhir attempted to hit Swann over the top and gave a looping catch to Alastair Cook at point.

Just four overs later, Dravid - who had progressed to 136 - fell in similar manner when he also tried to hit Swann over the top but mis-hit the shot high in the air for Monty Panesar to take a well-judged catch at mid-off.

Tendulkar, whose brilliant unbeaten century in Chennai had inspired India's six-wicket victory, lasted just six overs before attempting to sweep Swann and falling lbw for 11.

Sensing the momentum was with England, all-rounder Flintoff powered in and earned another lbw against VVS Laxman, who is set to become his Lancashire team-mate next summer, and should have had a second victim four overs later only to see Alastair Cook somehow drop Yuvraj Singh in the gully.

The under-fire Monty Panesar then helped himself to two cheap wickets to ease some of the pressure that has been building throughout a poor tour, the left-arm spinner having Yuvraj caught by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off the bat-pad before Harbhajan Singh was caught at mid-off as he aimed to repeat an earlier six.

Flintoff then bowled Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra with yorkers to wrap up the innings.

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