August 12, 2002

India's middle order delivers as Test ends in draw

India managed to draw the second Test against England, although the hosts had repeated glimpses of victory throughout an intriguing final day at Trent Bridge. After telling contributions from Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar, a flurry of wickets around the tea interval raised the possibility of a rapid run chase similar to the one England pulled off against Sri Lanka at Old Trafford; in the event, India's young wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel and Zaheer Khan took the tourists to safety. England remain one-nil up with two Tests remaining.

The draw was favourite throughout the day, albeit marginal at times, as India lost just two wickets in the first two sessions. Sachin Tendulkar made 92 (113 balls, 17 fours), but after looking comfortable for the first hour's play, he was beaten and bowled by a perfect off-spinner from Michael Vaughan as he tried to drive the Yorkshireman through the covers. Vaughan had come on after England's seam attack had searched fruitlessly for a breakthrough in the early overs.

Dravid was fortunate to survive a confident appeal for caught behind off Hoggard when he was on 73 in the first over after the lunch interval. Umpire Koertzen shook his head, but replays suggested the thinnest of edges. That was the one blemish, as Dravid played with restraint and elegance to reach his first Test hundred against England. He had reached 115 (244 balls, 16 fours) when Nasser Hussain turned to Cork, bruised knee and all. He found enough reverse swing to rap Dravid on the pad with a ball that would have gone on to hit leg stump. Dravid had added a vital 134 runs with his captain, Sourav Ganguly, who was again in impeccable touch.

Laxman was perilously close to the same fate off his first ball. He survived until tea, but was dismissed afterwards thanks to excellent captaincy. Hussain had moved Craig White back towards the backward square leg boundary, where Laxman obligingly hit Cork straight down his throat. When Ganguly was bowled off the inside edge by Harmison for 99 (159 balls, 13 fours) England were daring to hope again.

Agarkar, after making 32, was lbw offering no stroke to the first ball of a new spell from Vaughan. Harbhajan Singh lost his off stump to a near full toss from Harmison. If India had folded quickly at that point, England would have fancied their chances of scoring around 130 to win in 20 overs. As it was, Patel and Zaheer held firm, and the series remains very much alive.

Michael Vaughan was made Man of the Match for his 197, and there was a nice touch of sportsmanship from England, who let India's 17-year-old wicket-keeper lead the teams in after his valuable contribution to India's escape.