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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 11:38 GMT
India respond to Collingwood ton
First Test, Nagpur:
England 393; India 136-1 (day two, stumps)

Paul Collingwood
An overjoyed Collingwood celebrates his maiden Test century
England's Paul Collingwood hit a fine maiden Test century before Indian pair Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid put the hosts back on top in Nagpur.

Jaffer (73 not out) and Dravid (40, also unbeaten) led the hosts to a solid score of 136-1 at stumps on day two after England had finished on 393.

Earlier, Collingwood, who started the day on 53 in a score of 246-7, had rescued a dire situation for England.

He was ably assisted by England's tail during the first half of the day.

The first surprise on Thursday morning came when home captain Dravid elected to use the old ball for the first half hour.

In Lahore I didn't quite get to three figures and today it happened

As soon as Sri Sreesanth took the new cherry India had a breakthrough as Matthew Hoggard, who had made 11, edged an excellent leg-cutter to the wicket-keeper.

Fortune soon favoured the batsmen, however, as Steve Harmison opened his account with a flurry of boundaries.

Early in his innings, he stroked three fours off consecutive deliveries bowled by Sreesanth.

Two were delightful cover-drives, the third a pull shot out of the Ricky Ponting batting manual.

Dravid reverted to two spinners but after a slight lull in the scoring, Collingwood lofted an out-of-sorts Harbhajan Singh for a huge straight six.

Harmison played the same shot in Harbhajan's following over, collecting four, but the same bowler finally had his revenge two balls later when Harmison was stumped by yards after a stirring 39 off 42 balls.

Collingwood was still 21 runs away from his century when England's last man Monty Panesar arrived at the crease just before lunch.

S Harmison
Harmison accelerated the scoring rate with some fine blows

But he proceeded to farm the bowling brilliantly, often chipping Harbhajan for two runs over mid-wicket to retain the strike as much as possible.

His only let-off was just before the interval when the recalled Sreesanth, easily India's best bowler in the match to date, had him driving between the wicket-keeper and slip at catchable height.

After lunch Collingwood hit his fourth and final six when smashing Irfan Pathan back over his head.

His 66-run partnership with Panesar finally ended when Sreesanth had England's number 11 lbw for nine with a yorker to finish with 4-95 on debut.

In all, Harmison and Panesar had helped Collingwood add a remarkable 126 for the last two wickets.

The upbeat tourists only had to wait until the third over of India's reply for their first wicket as a flat-footed Virender Sehwag drove a slower ball from Hoggard to an elated Kevin Pietersen at cover.

And just before tea, England were on the attack as Panesar's first two overs had Jaffer tied up in knots. One lbw appeal might well have been upheld on another day.

The tension lifted in the final session, however, as the two right-handers gradually worked out a way to score boundaries off Panesar.

Jaffer indulged in a memorable late cut and added a paddle-sweep to bring up his fifty.

Though Flintoff bowled a good spell late in the day, he eventually tired and once the other spinner Ian Blackwell replaced Panesar it was damage limitation time.

Dravid, targeting a fourth Test ton against England in successive innings, gave the Somerset captain a tough time with some perfectly-timed drives on both sides of the wicket.

His stand with Jaffer was worth 125 when the batsmen accepted an offer of bad light two overs early.

Interview: England's Paul Collingwood


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