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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

India duo leave England trailing

Second Test, Mohali (day two, close):
India 453 v England

Dates: 19-23 December Start time: 0400 GMT (0330 GMT on Sunday)
Coverage: Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW and BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, live text commentary on BBC Sport website, and live on Sky Sports 1

By Jamie Lillywhite

Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir
Having batted for the majority of day one, the India pair dominated again

Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid put on 314, a record second-wicket stand for India against England, as the hosts made 453 on day two of the final Test.

The dominant partnership guided India to a formidable 320-1 after lunch.

England responded with four wickets for 19 in 11 overs, Graeme Swann (3-122) and Andrew Flintoff impressing.

Flintoff deservedly wrapped up the innings to finish with 3-54, but England were unable to begin their reply as bad light ended proceedings.

After 107.5 overs passed without a wicket between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, England responded with four wickets in 11.1 overs.

It should have been five - and 347-6 - but Alastair Cook spilled a simple catch in the gully when Yuvraj Singh prodded at another rapid ball from the admirable Flintoff.

TMS Close of Play - Second Test, day two

The first session was a continuation of day one, bat dominating ball and England's hopes of a victory to square the series fading faster than the December Punjab evening light.

Play was somehow able to begin half an hour early as planned, but with the hills shrouded in low fog and very few spectators in at 0900 local time, there was a ghostly atmosphere as England resumed their quest to take wickets.

There was no shortage of effort from the seamers, James Anderson and Flintoff unfortunate not to break through with the second new ball.

For the most part, however, Gambhir and Dravid were in control.

Only one delivery notably misbehaved off the pitch, but Dravid, fully restored to his impenetrable best, kept out the shooter from Stuart Broad.

Swann upbeat on England's chances

Once again Monty Panesar presented little difficulty for them, dispatched for two fours in a single over opening spell and going for boundaries in both overs when called back prior to lunch.

In the final five overs of the session 38 were scored, 123 coming in the extended session as the Indian batsmen looked to accelerate.

If Dravid was in any way anxious, having gone 19 innings without a century, it did not show and he was calmness personified.

Gambhir, for all his powers of concentration, played some ungainly strokes, but credit must go to Swann for luring him down the pitch and finding sufficient turn to take the edge.

Four overs later Swann deceived Dravid in the flight and the England team breathed a collective sigh of relief when Panesar steadied himself and took the catch at mid-off.

When the match-winner from Chennai, Sachin Tendulkar, was lbw trying to turn Swann, England enjoyed their best period.


Flintoff, regularly testing the batsmen in excess of 93mph, was used effectively in partnership with Swann, who bowled unchanged throughout the afternoon.

The big fast bowler kept up the momentum by dislodging VVS Laxman for a 24-ball duck with a full-pitched delivery.

Panesar, having endured 47 overs without success, gained some confidence with the wickets of Yuvraj, looping a catch off bat and pad, and Harbhajan Singh, miscuing to mid-off.

Mahendra Dhoni showed admirable ambition before falling to a sharp catch at short mid-wicket by substitute Owais Shah when charging down the wicket at Anderson, who appeared less than impressed by the impertinence.

Following Flintoff's clinical rattling of the timbers of the final two batsmen, England were left with around nine overs but with the players out in the centre the light meter decreed that the conditions were not suitable.

It was a determined effort from Kevin Pietersen and his team, but even the most blinkered England optimist would find it difficult to dream up a win from this position.

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see also
Swann delighted with wicket haul
20 Dec 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
20 Dec 08 |  England
England crushed by Tendulkar ton
15 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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