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Dravid, Yuvraj steady ship after Welegedara’s triple blow

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India are fighting back in their first innings through an unbeaten 73-run stand between Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh after being reduced at 32 for 4. The pair have taken India to 105 for 4 in 25 overs at lunch on Day 1 of the first Test at Motera, Ahmedabad.

The hosts started the match in style with Sehwag creaming a boundary through covers but soon lost Gautam Gambhir through a weak forward defence off left armer Chanaka Welegedara in the 3rd over. Gambhir wasn’t sure whether the ball was swinging in or swinging out and managed an inside edge onto the stumps in a tentative push forward. In the first ball of the 7th over, Welegedara got the ball to swing back slightly to beat Sehwag’s bat and strike the frontpad in line of the stumps to have him lbw. Sehwag was looking good at that time with 3 boundaries in his 16.

Like Sehwag, Tendulkar also started off with a boundary through the off side but he too didn’t last long. The little master got a beauty from Welegedara which nipped back with bounce to sneak through the bat pad gap and find its way to hit the off stump bail. Laxman fell cheaply as well playing a lazy backfoot drive which crashed off the inside edge to knock his stump out of the ground. Laxman’s wicket was taken by Dammika Prasad and India slipped to a terrible 32 for 4 in the 8th over.

Memories of the 76 all out in the last Test played at this venue (against South Africa) haunted the Indians. But luckily for the crowd, Rahul Dravid along with Yuvraj Singh batted positively to take them out of trouble. Once Welegedara was exhausted, it was runs for the taking for the two batsmen. Even Muralitharan and Herath couldn’t do much to keep the pressure on them as the ball didn’t turn at all. Rahul Dravid welcomed Herath to the bowling crease by stepping out and lofting him over long on for a six. Yuvraj too made sure that Herath could never settle in by playing an intimidating flick wide of mid on.

At lunch, Rahul Dravid has moved onto 45 from 70 balls with 4 fours and a six and is getting good support from the dangerous Yuvraj Singh who has got to 35 from 54 balls with 7 fours. Welegedara is the bowler to watch out for India and he has got figures of 7-2-28-3. The ball seems to have started to reverse swing slightly but there is nothing at all for the spinners so far. Batting should be easy through the rest of the day and Yuvraj will have to bat sensibly to carry this partnership forward with Dravid.

Earlier before the match started, Gujarat’s Chief Minister and also the President of the Gujarat Cricket Association – Narendra Modi honoured Sachin Tendulkar for completing 20 years in international cricket.

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