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Gambhir, Dravid take India to 179/1 on a gloomy first day

Related Links : 2nd Test Scorecard | England’s Tour of India 2008/09

India put up a solid batting show on a greenish Mohali wicket on a curtailed first day’s play of the second and final Test against England. A struggling Rahul Dravid has come out of his shackles to score an unbeaten half century and along with him was Gautam Gambhir who notched up a fluent unbeaten century which has taken India to 179 for 1. The sun hardly came out at Mohali and the gloomy conditions right from the start had ensured that just the 72 overs would be bowled. It was a late start and an early end to the opening day’s play and that is how it is suspected to be for the next four days as well! The English bowlers could put the lid on the scoring rate but definitely failed to make inroads in conditions that were conducive for seam and swing bowling. Here is the summary of the action that unfolded on Day 1.

Pitch: The pitch here at Mohali has a nice greenish tinge to it which means that there will be a good amount of pace and bounce for the quick bowlers. The spinners are also expected to enjoy bowling on this wicket because of the nice high bounce. India had just recently trounced Australia at this same venue in the last series. That wicket was absolutely flat and it was more of reverse swing and the element of surprise in Amit Mishra that had won the match for Team India.

Toss: MS Dhoni flicked the coin stylishly and KP called it wrong. Dhoni had no hesitation and to bat first after winning the toss. No changes were made in the Indian team while England had made one change bringing on all rounder Stuart Broad in place of Steve Harmison. The match started 20 minutes late because of fog.

Morning Session: India survive new ball but lose Sehwag

India received a major setback of the match when a streaky Sehwag edged a juicy outswinger from Broad to the keeper to depart for a 3-ball duck during the 2nd over. After that it appeared that the fast bowlers will make life very tough and the match could well see low totals. However that didn’t happen at all in the rest of the morning session with Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid battling the tough period through successfully. There was the odd delivery that would beat their outside edges but England didn’t find much luck and by lunch there was no joy for the visitors. India was happy with the session closing at 51/1 in 21 overs. Rahul Dravid (11*) was gaining in confidence while Gambhir (35*) continues to look solid.

Afternoon Session: Gambhir, Dravid provide another solid session for India

This was a very solid session for India, no wickets were lost and even a struggling Dravid had got to a confidence boosting half century which had eluded him in the last eight innings prior to this. Gautam Gambhir at the other end was inching closer towards a century! The left hander was lucky though as he escaped a close lbw shout against Graeme Swann during the 46th over. India had picked up 83 runs in the 32 overs bowled in this second session. England pulled off a stunning over rate of 15.4 overs per hour but were once again defied by this second wicket pair. Gambhir was on 78 and Dravid exactly on 50 as India moved forward to 134/1 in 53 overs. The bowling side were unlucky not to get the ball to reverse swing or turn as there was a bit of a drizzle that made the outfield wet.

Final Session: Gambhir gets a century and bad light stops play

India continued to bat through the final session in the same manner with Gambhir moving the scoreboard forward and Dravid working his way back into form. The first over after Tea saw Gambhir loft Swann inside out over long off for a six and in the 68th over brought up his 4th test century with a flick shot. By drinks, India moved onto 176/1 in 69 overs. Just another three overs were bowled after that as the prevailing gloomy conditions became even worse at around 3:45 PM and play was called off officially 15 minutes later with no hopes in store of the sun breaking through. India ended Day 1 at a good looking 179/1 with Gambhir on 106 and Dravid on 65. It was only during the dying stages of the day’s play that England could finally find some reverse swing which should keep the Indian batsmen under a check tomorrow.

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