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India v England 2nd Test



Second Test, Mohali (day five, result)
India 453 & 251-7 dec v England 302 & 64-1

By David Ornstein

Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir, ably supported by, Yuvraj, batted England out of contention

England were forced to settle for a draw after India chose to bat deep into day five of the second Test in Mohali.

Following another fog-delayed start, the hosts resumed on 134-4 and added 117 before declaring on 251-7 midway through the afternoon session.

Yuvraj Singh cracked an eye-catching 86 and Gautam Gambhir a patient 97 as the pair put on 153 for the fifth wicket.

England lost Alastair Cook but Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell had guided them to 64-1 when the captains shook hands.

It was a disappointingly flat end to a otherwise thoroughly exciting series, from which both sides will take plenty of positives.

England's return to India after the Mumbai attacks was hailed the world over and, on the whole, they performed admirably given their lack of preparation.

India, meanwhile, continued to display the sort of form that saw them beat Australia, and lived up to their billing as Test cricket's in-form team.

606: DEBATE
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It was unfortunate that Mahendra Dhoni's men did not push on for the win after taking a 151-run lead into their second innings but, with the the start of play significantly delayed for a third successive day, a draw was always the most likely result.

The players and umpires eventually came to the middle at 0600 GMT, two-and-a-half hours late, and when play got under way India resumed in cautious fashion.

With the mist not completely cleared and the pitch offering unpredictable bounce and movement, neither Gambhir nor Yuvraj looked interested in taking unnecessary risks before lunch.

England captain Kevin Pietersen bowled the spin-seam combination of Graeme Swann and James Anderson to heavily-packed off-side fields, which initially reduced India to trading in singles.

But Yuvraj was all too willing to counter England's tactics by employing the sweep, best illustrated when he swatted Swann through midwicket for his first boundary of the day.

Ian Bell and Graeme Swann
England's three middle-session wickets proved too little too late

The batsmen took India's lead past 300 before Yuvraj recorded his fifth Test fifty with a cut single and Gambhir his ninth by working Stuart Broad into the leg side.

Half-centuries achieved, the pair began to open up ruthlessly and Gambhir drove Anderson through the covers for four before Yuvraj flicked Anderson over the leg side for six.

Gambhir dragged Broad through midwicket to the rope and then Yuvraj clubbed the same bowler for consecutive maximums - one a front-foot pull over long-on and the other a remarkable flat drive over the covers.

Having reached lunch on 216-4, a lead of 367, India were expected to declare during the interval.

But captain Dhoni wanted to make sure his side batted England completely out of contention and sent Gambhir and Yuvraj back out in search of their centuries.

The pair scored slowly after the re-start, however, and when Yuvraj was made to scurry back to his crease following an abandoned single, Ian Bell's direct hit from short fine leg sent him back to the pavilion.

TMS Close of Play - Second Test, day five

England could be forgiven for thinking there would be no respite with the arrival of Dhoni but he had only faced one ball when he spooned a Monty Panesar delivery straight back to the bowler.

Man-of-the-match Gambhir, who made 179 in the first innings, suddenly looked nervous - and after scratching around in the 90s for the best part of five overs, he was acrobatically taken by Bell at backward point off Swann.

Dhoni declared immediately, giving his bowlers a session and a half to claim an unlikely victory by bowling England out.

Openers Strauss and Cook played watchfully in the opening exchanges, any nerves eased when Cook expertly flicked Zaheer Khan through midwicket for four.

But the Essex man made just six more runs before edging Ishant Sharma tamely to VVS Laxman at second slip, which brought an out-of-form Bell in to partner Strauss, who made a duck in the first innings.

Bell looked particularly nervous against the spin of Harbhajan but a sumptuous drive past mid-off to the rope would have given him confidence.

The Warwickshire batsman survived a strong leg-before shout off Amit Mishra but helped England reach 31-1 at tea.

Just 15 overs remained before the captains could shake on a draw and, apart from Bell clubbing Mishra down the ground for four and Strauss cutting Harbhajan to the same effect, they were largely uneventful.

Wicketkeeper Dhoni came on to bowl the last over himself but Strauss (21no) and Bell (24no) held out as the tour ended with handshakes all round.

see also
Jonathan Agnew column
23 Dec 08 |  England
Batsmen restore India's control
22 Dec 08 |  England
India rally after Pietersen ton
21 Dec 08 |  England
India duo leave England trailing
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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