August 8, 2002

Sehwag anchors Indian innings at Nottingham

A century from Virender Sehwag has given India backbone on the first day of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge. When bad light ended play early after 66 overs, India had reached 210 for four, with Sehwag out for 106 and Sourav Ganguly unbeaten on 29.

Sustained hostility and accuracy from Matthew Hoggard gave England the initial honours this morning, as the Yorkshireman bowled an opening spell of ten overs for just 17 runs and two wickets. Wasim Jaffer was his first victim, bowled for a duck off the inside edge. Rahul Dravid (13) then got another perfect outswinger, which he edged to the England debutant, Robert Key, at first slip.

Sachin Tendulkar stayed with Sehwag until lunch, and the two provided the most entertaining passage of the day soon after the interval, with 40 runs off five overs. A single off Flintoff took Tendulkar past Gary Sobers's 8,032 Test runs, putting him alone in ninth place in the list of highest Test run scorers. Tendulkar had made 34, including six sweetly-struck boundaries, when he played on trying to pull an innocuous long hop from Dominic Cork for another.

The dismissal ended a partnership of 74, and came shortly after Sehwag had completed his fifty, driving Hoggard through the covers for his ninth boundary. Ganguly joined Sehwag and the two made steady progress as England struggled for a breakthrough in conditions that favoured swing bowling. Cork was expensive, while Steve Harmison, who began his Test career with four consecutive maidens, and Andrew Flintoff were both steady.

Sehwag had reached his highest score in Test cricket, 106 (183 balls, 18 fours) when a bowling change did the trick for England. Craig White, who had earlier bowled just two overs for 19, returned to dismiss India's centurion, playing around a ball that was full and straight. Sehwag had put on 71 with his captain.

Injuries forced the only two changes to India's line-up this morning. Ajay Ratra, who damaged his foot in training yesterday, made way for Parthiv Patel to make his Test debut as India's wicket-keeper. The 17-year-old from Gujarat has played in just seven first-class matches, and is the third-youngest debutant in Indian Test history. Harbhajan Singh has replaced Anil Kumble, who has a calf strain. Ashley Giles was the man eventually omitted from England's final eleven.

England survived an injury scare after Dominic Cork left the field in the afternoon session. A precautionary x-ray on his right knee revealed no serious damage after he hurt it while attempting a run out.