England v India, 4th npower Test, The Oval, 4th day August 21, 2011

England chip away after Dravid's epic


India 300 (Dravid 146*, Bresnan 3-54) and 129 for 3 (Tendulkar 35*, Mishra 8*) trail England 591 for 6 dec by 162 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

This was a proper day of Test cricket, which has been a rarity over the last two matches, with a Rahul Dravid masterclass making England dig deeper for their successes. However, his unbeaten 146 wasn't enough to save the follow-on and India still face a huge task to avoid the whitewash after closing on 129 for 3 although Sachin Tendulkar remained on 35. Graeme Swann made the early inroads, including the scalp of Dravid, during a superb spell on a pitch offering plenty of turn.

Dravid's unbeaten hundred, his third ton of the series, was a magnificent innings, contributing nearly half India's total (the first time they had reached 300 in the series) during six hours at the crease and 266 balls. He became the third India batsman to carry his bat, after Virender Sehwag and Sunil Gavaskar, and due to Gautam Gambhir's ongoing problems with concussion was back out 10 minutes later for the follow-on. When he took guard he had 448 runs for the series and India's next best was MS Dhoni with 217.

His second innings then included both sides of the review system. On 7 he was saved when it was clear there was no bat or glove when he had been given caught short leg off Swann. A run later he had a life when Matt Prior couldn't hold an edge, although it was signalled four byes which would have likely brought DRS into play again had the chance been held.

His eventual dismissal was an overturned decision as Steve Davis, the third umpire, decided there was conclusive evidence to suggest Rod Tucker could change his on-field not-out decision. Hot Spot didn't appear to show anything clear from the front angle, while the side-on view was obscured by Alastair Cook at short leg but Dravid later admitted to a thin edge.

The debate was still bubbling when Swann claimed his second, a wonderful piece of bowling when he drew Sehwag forward and bowled him through the gate. Sehwag, after three innings totalling eight balls, was unusually restrained against the quicks but eager to attack Swann. It was always fraught with danger with big turn from the footmarks which made for a fascinating contest that ultimately went Swann's way.

The battles continued against Tendulkar and VVS Laxman; batsmen brought up on turning pitches against an attacking spinner searching for wickets. England sensed further scalps and came close on a number of occasions. The scorebook will show that Laxman took three fours in a row off Swann, but one was inside edge past leg stump and another a glove that eluded leg slip. Then, on 20, he was dropped at first slip by Andrew Strauss off James Anderson, but six overs before the close he played down the wrong line to Anderson and lost his off stump.

Tendulkar survived - although not without a few scares including a potential stumping when England didn't appear to appeal with his foot in the air for a second - and that offers an enticing prospect for what is expected to be a near full house on the final day. In all probability he will need to secure his 100th hundred if India are to survive.

India had started the day on 103 for 5, but the second half of their innings proved harder to extract than the first. Dravid's progress to three figures during the morning wasn't without alarm as he offered England two chances to run him out. The closest came on 61, when there was confusion between him and Dhoni following a Ravi Bopara misfielded at cover, but Kevin Pietersen couldn't hit the stumps. Then Stuart Broad had a shy from mid-off when Dravid sprinted for his 99th run and had to dive.

A blow on the bottom hand from Bresnan caused Dravid pain, but two balls later he steered the same bowler towards third man to bring up his century from 168 deliveries. The most enthralling aspect of the innings was his contest with Swann, which went hands down to the batsman. Dravid had moved through the 90s with three boundaries off Swann; a rare slog-sweep, a late cut and a flick through midwicket. His ability to play late off the back foot continued to make it difficult for Swann to find the right length.

The one breakthrough of the morning went to Anderson, who was rewarded for some probing outswing when he found Dhoni's edge. Gambhir dropped further down the order, but Mishra provided Dravid with excellent support in a stand of 87 and showed more gumption that some of the top-order batsmen as he played sensibly with the occasional flourish, including a six off the last ball before lunch.

Mishra's resistance was ended when Ian Bell plucked out a diving catch at short square leg and Gambhir made his appearance at No. 9. He was dropped at short leg on 1, a tough chance to Cook off Swann, and didn't look comfortable during his stay, although he at least offered Dravid further support. Unsurprisingly, England's quicks peppered him with the short delivery, and it was an approach that paid off when Broad made one bounce with the new ball and found the edge to gully.

RP Singh proved an able replacement for Praveen Kumar's lower-order hitting, making a 23-ball 25 before he flapped Tim Bresnan to third slip and two balls later Sreesanth drove straight to mid-off. It was a poor piece of cricket from Sreesanth with Dravid still unbeaten, but then it isn't the first time India's stand-out performer had been let down in the series. On the final day India need someone else to save them.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    @npadhy007 - Eventhough I dont want to comment anythin against you, (since I knw Dravid is the big WALL of India), jus for kind info, Yes.. Dravid performed well in 2003. But not won that match single handedly. He had a big hand in support in laxman and other small contributions in second Innings too.. Indeed it was Agarkar's magic which bowled Aus for less than 200 in second Innings which ultimately won us the match.. And then excuse me.. Did Dravid performed to his potential in the match we won in England in 2007.. I doubt it. (Hope u didnt say this jus coz he was captain) It was Sachin who topscored for India, ofcourse with support frm fellow Indians to win the match.. And again it was Zaheer who won us that match. I have always believed that its bowlers who win us TEST matches.. If you have other matches in list send me those too and you will get a reply why we won those matches..

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    And there r few guys here making point that, Dravid kept wickets - Yes, because he is good at that.. And remember, he was not a regular in ODIs till 1999. And it was during that time, he made a stunning comeback to ODIs. And since we lacked a quality keeper-batsman, one of our batsman who is good in that was asked to. and he did that. Its totally upto him to accept it or not. While I agree that it was totally for a Team's cause, I too doubt that in '99 when he reappeared in ODIs, he had any chance/guts to refuse that..It the mistake of BCCI to not search for a WK, since they are comfortable wid Dravid. And as we all know Dravid as a man of soft words, he never questioned it. My point is if a man is doing wt he dont like, it always doesnt mean that he is doing for the sake of others.. He coould hv feared to complaint that too.. Rite.?? And he continued to do that till we found Dhoni.. Jus 4 humour/thought - Why he never practiced to bowl - jus coz he s not gud in that.. Simple..

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    @attoAshok: While I agree with that making records will do nothing to Team's success. you have to accept that Team success will not depend on one man's success. Thats wt I want to point out here. U have to agree to that now since DRAVID has failed to do that since he lacked support frm his fellow Teammates. On a assumption that you have finally realized that it is TEAM sport, lemme tell you mate.. Sachin was a make shift opener.. He was made to open jus as an experiment and it clicked.. Again for team's sake he was asked to come down which he did for many seasons. Not only on 2002, but on 1999 WC and latter 2006/07 till '07 WC.. And he was not successful on either occasions.. Of course he scored few centuries. but not as successful as he was in opening slot.. You hail them as match winning innings because he was in middle order then.. Understand mate.. A century frm opener hardly recognized as Match winning one, since he wont be there to finish the match off.. But, still it mean lot..

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    100 @ Nagpur against SA - It is Steyn's match. And it should be his. 111* @ Centurion - India couldnt survive the first day on a lively pitch which latter turned out to flat.. Well, I really dont see any fault on Sachin's part on getting those centuries. Only reason could be either other batsmen didnt give enough support. Or the opp played brilliantly. Ofcourse, there might be some infamous TESTs too.. I know/played cricket @ some level and believe me.. No run can be termed as useless. And that too in Test cricket. NOWAYYYYYY..

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    177 @ b'lore against Aus - It was scored in 207 balls.. Indians scored 424 to take lead of 24 runs. In second Innings, all Indians except Sidhu and Sachin failed to reach 30 runs mark. Result - Lost by a superb century by Taylor. 113 @ Wellington - One of the best second Innings century I ever know. Yet, Mcmillan and Cairns brilliance took the game away. 136 @ chenni against Pak - Does any1 have any second thought on this innings 116 @ melbourne in the disastrous tour of Aus'99. In the second innings he scored 52. yet couldnt save the match. 155 @ Bloemfontein - Well. Not really Indians fault to loose this match. This is the sheer brilliance of SA to win this one. 154* @ Syndey - The infamous Sydney Test. Every1 knows why we lost.

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 3:17 GMT

    Just a small analysis on Sachin's centuries on losing cause - which earned him the name of "Selfish player". I litteraly dont understand why when a century didnt win/save match, it should be called a useless one.. Hmm.. Just check out this guys. All of Sachin's century in losing cause.(only Tests). No need to mention Onedays, since he was a lone warrior there for many years. 114 @ Perth - Guess I need not explain much abt this match. 122 @ Birmingham - Trailing by 90 odd runs, Sachin made 122 in 3rd innings of the match to take the score to 219. Guess wts next highest score.?? 18 by Manjrekar and only 3 other double digit score all below 20. Target is 121 and England got through.. 169 @ Capetown - An Innings which Donald hails as one of the best he has seen.. No other description needed.

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 2:29 GMT

    @shilsen.. If u dont feel fair abt the statement "Sachin is only for personal records", then you are really not my Target.:) I want to get reply frm those who feel so.. And for kind info, I love Dravid and he is such a genius.. And so is Sachin and Laxman on their own ways.. Dravid cant do what Sachin and Laxman can do and viceversas also applies. Afterall, they are human and we have to accept this.. My question is why do you want to bring down a master to hail another master when both of them r frm ur land.?? I infact hav answers for all your points.. But, you are not the right person to get those replies.. Also, I should say that I agree with all the points you..(Only with you..:))

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    @npadhy007.. Mate.. I didnt say anythin against Dravid.. I respect Dravid as much as I respect Sachin. You have to look into my other posts.. And if you respect Sachin too.. Then its very fine.. I like such ppl who love all our players. My point is. If Dravid/Sachin/Laxman/Dhoni has done anything spectacular, go ahead and hail them. And in doin so, why do you want to write off the reputation of some other player.. the post is just for the sake of argument for the guys who bring down Sachin to hail Dravid. Not meant for you who respect both the legends.. You Jush chill down.. :)

  • Ashok on August 22, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    @ Karthik Raja: Moreover, Dravid will do anything for the sake of the team. Do you know the famous quote on Dravid about his team-man, "He will walk on broken glass pieces, if his team wants form him". Can you expect this from Sachin? I remember well, when Sachin batted at no. 4 during 2002s in ODIs, he said he wants to bat as an opener. He did well in no. 4 and won matches for India. But still he wants opening, you can guess for what reason? Making record will not do anything for team success, whether it is for Dravid or for Sachin. After all 100 is just a +1 to 99 and -1 to 101, when the team runs are concerned. That is how it should be. Don't make bad comments on a team-man, Dravid.

  • Bob on August 22, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    Venu Vinod K S on (August 22 2011, 11:57 AM GMT)

    Oh.. and by the way.. you might care to notice that this nightwatchman is outscoring the revered little master...

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