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December 20, 2008
Rahul Dravid may have stonewalled his way through the opening day, but the intent was unmistakeable on day two, especially once the new ball was taken. Stuart Broad was cut through cover, and when he then dropped short, Dravid flailed one over the slip cordon for four more. India made 123 runs in the opening session, with Dravid contributing 55 from 89 balls.
You need some luck too
Dravid was two short of that long-awaited century when Andrew Flintoff got one to dart away from the bat at pace. It missed Dravid's defensive push by millimetres. A couple of minutes later, he worked James Anderson off the pads to backward square leg for a single. It had taken 261 balls, but the ordeal was over.
When he got to 142, Gautam Gambhir had 1000 runs for the calendar year, not bad for someone who didn't play his first Test of 2008 till Sri Lanka in July. It was also some achievement for a man who contemplated giving up the game after the disappointment of being overlooked for the 2007 World Cup squad.
As a contest, it was the most unequal one possible. The gargantuan figure of Flintoff, who had clocked 151 kph at one point during the day, up against the diminutive Amit Mishra. Mishra survived 11 balls against England's colossus and even affected one cheeky loft over the slips for four. Kudos too for an emphatic straight six off Monty Panesar.
After failing to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar on the final day in Chennai, Graeme Swann was understandably jubilant at getting him cheaply here going for an awkward paddle-sweep. "He's the one wicket you prize more than any," said Swann, who also admitted that his brother had given him some stick for not being able to do more in Chennai.
Don't let the sun go down
If crowds don't understand some of cricket's rules, you can scarcely blame them. Once you come off for bad light during the half-hour extension at the end of play, you can't go back out. Within a minute of the English openers retreating to the dressing room, we had the brightest sunshine of the day, and no chance whatsoever of play resuming. The law is indeed an ass.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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