Dravid ton gives India hope

Sunday, 21 August 2011

London – Rahul Dravid at his elegant best completed his third century of the series on Sunday as India battled to avoid a whitewash on the fourth day of the fourth Test against England at the Oval.
Dravid, the only member of the celebrated India top order to live up to his reputation in a dreadful series for the visitors, reached his 35th Test hundred with a late cut for two off Tim Bresnan.
At lunch India, who were in disarray overnight at 103/5 in reply to England's 591/6 declared, had rallied to 218/6 but still need another 174 runs to go past the follow on target.
England easily won each of the first three Tests and have taken over the world No 1 ranking from India.
Dravid scored 103 not out in the first Test at Lord's and 117 in the second at Trent Bridge, opening the batting on the second occasion. He was again pressed into service as an opener at the Oval after Gautam Gambhir suffered mild concussion while attempting a catch on Friday and responded with an innings of great character and skill.
After resuming on 57, Dravid negated the threat of Graeme Swann, who took three cheap wickets on Saturday evening, through clever footwork and playing the ball as late as possible.
He could have been run out on 61 after a mixup 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 then found an able lieutenant in Amit Mishra, who glanced a boundary then used his feet to strike Swann for another four to bring up the 150.
His third four, an edge through the slips of Bresnan, brought up the 50 partnership. He celebrated by square-driving Bresnan to the boundary took two in a row off Kevin Pietersen then struck the last ball before lunch from Swann for an audacious six over long-on.


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