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VVS Laxman stamped his class at the County Ground in Hove during the second day’s play. India followed Laxman’s class innings with a good bowling effort that has got Sussex under pressure at 146 for 5 in reply to India’s 388 for 7 declared. Anil Kumble has already taken two wickets bowling 11 overs.
The second day’s play began with Yuvraj Singh walking in instead of the Skipper who was the overnight batsman with Laxman. But Rahul Dravid felt satisfied with his yesterday’s outing in which he had batted for nearly two hours. The Indians were taken for a surprise in the form of a 21-year-old offie Olie Rayner. The off spinner got the two wickets of Yuvraj and Dhoni. While Yuvraj tried to break the shackles after scoring 31 in two hours of batting, Dhoni was foxed with a well disguised doosra that caught him in the crease. Dhoni (5) was the only main failure for India apart from Wasim Jaffer among the batsmen. The Indians lost two more wickets after that with Saqlain Mushtaq showed his mastery over off spin by forcing Kumble and Laxman to nick him into the slips. Laxman fell five runs short of a hundred having batted for 178 balls. His innings had a dozen hits to the fence. Overall, the Indians managed 388 for 7 having batted for nearly 131 overs which meant that their run rate was on the slower side at 2.96.
After a slightly worrying start of spraying the new ball around, the Indian pacers got their act together to get the breaks. The first wicket was taken by Sreesanth which came in the 13th over. In the 22nd over, Ranadeb Bose, who was brought in as one change got his first wicket in his career with the Indian team as he bounced out opener Chris Nash. That was followed with a swinging yorker from RP Singh that got rid of Hopkinson early to have Sussex at 75 for 3. Anil Kumble and the Indians had to work their way through to pick up another couple of wickets before close. All the bowlers used by Dravid were amongst the wickets with the exception of Yuvraj Singh who was clobbered for 17 runs in his 2 overs. Sussex ended the second day’s play at 152 for 5 in 47.2 overs which gives a window of an opportunity for the tourists to try and force a result in this four-day encounter.
Indians 1st Inngs 388 for 7 declared in 130.5 Overs (VVS Laxman 95 Gautam Gambhir 81 Dinesh Karthik 76 Rahul Dravid 57 retired hurt Yuvraj Singh 31, Saqlain Mushtaq 3/71 Rayner 2/34) Vs Sussex 1st Inngs 146 for 5 in 47.2 Overs (Michael Yardy 53 Chris Nash 28, Kumble 2/28)