December 15, 2001

India bat through to draw second Test

Hopes of a gripping final day at Ahmedabad came to nothing as India batted their way to a tame draw, ensuring that they cannot lose the series. The two captains called a halt after India had reached 198 for 3 to preserve their 1-0 lead ahead of next week's final Test at Bangalore. But England can take heart from a substantial improvement on their performance in the first Test, which if maintained could still secure them a share in the series.

The outcome of the match was pretty clear after England failed to dislodge India's openers in the first session. Chasing an unlikely victory target of 374, Shiv Sunder Das and Deep Dasgupta took India to 92 without loss by lunch. In a slow-going session, India eventually reached the 50 mark in the 25th over. Das reached his 1,000th run in Test cricket with a square cut for four off Dawson, repeating the stroke with the same result in Dawson's next over. He went to his 50 with a single off the last ball before the interval.

The hundred came up in the 42nd over as Das nudged Giles around the corner behind square. The placid nature of the pitch was apparent when an attempted bouncer from White sailed gently past Dasgupta's off stump at medium height. Dawson's return to the attack raised the tempo a fraction, with a Dasgupta boundary through extra cover, a close shout for lbw, and Dasgupta's 50, reached off 150 balls with five boundaries.

It took a run-out to break the deadlock, as Das called for a a risky second after glancing Dawson towards fine leg. An excellent throw from Giles was gathered safely by James Foster, who broke the wicket with Das marginally short of his ground. The crowd's view of India's approach was illustrated by the cheering which greeted Das's dismissal for 58. They wanted Sachin Tendulkar but had to wait, as Rahul Dravid appeared in his customary position at number three.

Dawson secured a second breakthrough when Dasgupta, on 60, pushed forward and was caught after a brief juggle by Mark Butcher at silly point off pad and bat. India were 124 for two and Tendulkar's entrance brought the crowd's customary roar of excitement. He unravelled a crunching square cut as Dawson dropped short, and Dravid clipped White through midwicket, but as tea approached there was little else to excite the crowd.

As a draw became inevitable, Dawson found a good one which turned on to Tendulkar, and the resulting edge into his pad presented Michael Vaughan with a straightforward catch at short leg. Tendulkar walked off without waiting for a decision. England took the new ball in the 92nd over, by which time the result was a foregone conclusion. Although Andrew Flintoff again did his best to rough up Sourav Ganguly, the Indian captain responded aggressively and stayed with Dravid until the close.