Dravid carries bat, India follow on

Sunday, 21 August 2011

London – Rahul Dravid became the third Indian batsman to bat throughout a Test innings on Sunday with an epic unbeaten 146 on the fourth day of the fourth and final Test against England at the Oval.
Opening in place of Gautam Gambhir, who sustained mild concussion while fielding on Friday, Dravid batted for more than six hours in India's first innings of 300 all out to emulate Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag who also carried their bat.
His third century of the series and the 35th of his Test career was still not enough to get India close to avoiding the follow-on mark after England had amassed 591/6 and the home team predictably enforced the follow-on.
At tea India, who already trail England 3-0 in the series, were 25 for no wicket in their second innings, a deficit of 266.
Apart from Dravid, the only Indian to reach a century in the series, no batsman exceeded 50 with Amit Mishra the second top scorer with an enterprising 43. Mishra lofted Graeme Swann for an audacious six over long-on off the last ball before lunch and helped Dravid add 87 for the seventh wicket.
Dravid scored 103 not out in the first test at Lord's and 117 in the second at Trent Bridge, also opening the batting on the second occasion. During Saturday's innings he became the first batsman in Test history to face 30,000 deliveries.
After resuming on 57, Dravid negated the threat of Swann, who took three cheap wickets on Saturday evening, through adroit footwork and playing the ball as late as possible.
He could have been run out on 61 after a mix-up with Mahendra Singh Dhoni but survived to race through the 90s with three sweetly timed boundaries in a Swann over.
Indian captain Dhoni was the only batsman to depart during the morning session and his dismissal came as no surprise.
Dhoni was beaten twice outside the off-stump by Stuart Broad and edged another delivery which landed in front of Andrew Strauss at first slip. He also survived an lbw appeal against Swann, padding up to a ball which would have gone over the stumps.
James Anderson replaced Broad at the Pavilion end after 35 minutes and Dhoni, propping forward, edged his 10th ball of the morning straight to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Dravid found an able lieutenant in Mishra, who lofted Swann to the boundary to bring up the 150. The pair took the total to 224 when Mishra was brilliantly caught by Ian Bell off Tim Bresnan at short-leg, leaping to his right to grasp a one-handed catch off an attempted hook.
Gambhir survived a difficult chance off Swann when he had scored one when the ball eluded Anderson at short-leg. He lingered at the crease for 71 minutes before he was caught at gully by Kevin Pietersen for 10 fending a short delivery with the second new ball from Broad.
His departure brought RP Singh to the crease for a merry cameo of 25 off 23 balls including five fours before he was caught at third slip by Anderson off Bresnan. Shanthakumaran Sreesanth followed two balls later caught by Eoin Morgan at short cover off Bresnan for a duck.
Sehwag, who had been dismissed in the first over in his three previous test innings this series, edged Anderson's first ball of the second innings past his leg stump for four. He thrashed the sixth to the boundary.


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