We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sun 21 Dec 2008 02:07 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

India on top after Dravid, Gambhir centuries

Second wicket partnership of 314 lays foundations of good first innings total.

India took charge of the second and final cricket Test against England here on Saturday after posting a commanding 453 in their first innings.

Rahul Dravid returned to form with a century and Gautam Gambhir completed 1,000 runs in the year as India survived a middle-order slump to leave England with a mountain to climb.

The tourists, seeking a series-levelling win after losing the first Test in Chennai by six wickets, must not only put up a big total, but also give themselves enough time to bowl India out a second time.

England, who were due to bat nine overs before stumps, were unable to begin their reply as umpires Daryl Harper and Asad Rauf called off play due to fading light.

Dravid and Gambhir put on 314 for the second wicket after coming together at the dismissal of Virender Sehwag in the second over of the match on Friday.

Dravid scored 136, his 26th Test century and the first in 20 innings since making 111 against South Africa in Chennai in March.

Left-handed Gambhir, who was on 106 overnight, went on to make 179 to take his tally this year to 1,037 runs from eight Tests at an average of 69.13.

India were comfortably placed at 320-1 when England fought back with four quick wickets to reduce the hosts to 339-5 in the post-lunch session.

Dravid reached his hundred midway through the morning session by flicking James Anderson for a single to loud cheers from some 2,000 home fans and from his team-mates in the dressing room.

His effort will silence critics who had demanded his exclusion from the Test team after he managed just 342 runs in his last 10 matches at an average of 19.

Dravid, the 131-Test veteran who turns 36 next month, said he was not unduly perturbed by the criticism.

"To be honest with myself, I did expect some scrutiny since I was not scoring runs," he said. "That goes with the territory, but I knew I was just one innings away from making a big one.

"I may not have been getting the runs but I was hitting the ball well in the nets.

"It was not easy to bat on this wicket. The overcast conditions meant the ball was swinging and one just had to be patient and graft the runs.

"I was lucky to have Gautam at the other end. He is in terrific form and that helped take some pressure off me."

The 27-year-old Gambhir moved past 1,000 runs in the calendar year with a flick off Collingwood to become the fourth Indian after Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman and Sehwag to achieve the feat in 2008.

The only other instance in Test history when four batsmen from a country scored 1,000 runs in one year was when England's Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook did it in 2006.

England off-spinner Graeme Swann, who finished with three wickets, said the outcome would hinge on how the Indian spinners were tackled.

"To keep them down to 450 has brought us back in the game because at one stage we did not know where the next wicket was coming from," said Swann.

"This wicket is not the ideal batting surface. A lot will depend on how our batsmen negotiate the spinners."

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.