India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali, 5th day

India take series after dull draw

The Report by Jamie Alter

December 23, 2008

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India 453 (Gambhir 179, Dravid 136) and 251 for 7 (Gambhir 97, Yuvraj 86) drew with England 302 (Pietersen 144, Flintoff 62, Cook 50, Harbhajan 4-68) and 64 for 1
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out


Gautam Gambhir was the Man of the Match for his performance with the bat in both innings, scoring 179 and 97 © Getty Images
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As expected, the Mohali Test petered out to a draw with Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh getting some functional but meaningless batting practice on a hollow final day. Neither got to their centuries and India's declaration left England a hypothetical 403 to win or, more pragmatically, 44 overs to bat.

Ishant Sharma removed Alastair Cook cheaply, but that was as good as it got for India - Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss denied them further success, batting out the remainder of the Test.

The fourth innings was but a formality. Cook nicked Ishant Sharma to VVS Laxman at second slip, and an out-of-form Bell poked and prodded, shuffled and swayed against pace and spin to accompany Strauss to the close. The match was dissolving into a farce when Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought himself on to bowl slow dibbly-dobblers, after which the umpires called off play.

Resuming on 134 for 4, India added 82 without fuss in a truncated 13-over morning session after thick fog delayed play by two-and-a-half hours. Gambhir and Yuvraj started cautiously before opening up with a range of aggressive strokes, Yuvraj fetching himself three sixes.

By the time lunch was taken, India's run rate for the morning was well over six and the way Yuvraj, especially, and Gambhir were batting, it appeared a spent England were cruising towards a bruising. Instead the two batsmen came out of the interval quite content to bide their time, but England snapped up three wickets.

If Bell's demolition of the stumps yesterday snubbed Virender Sehwag before he could ignite, his direct hit cut Yuvraj short of a century. Yuvraj swept the ball towards short fine leg and Bell swooped in to nail down the stumps with an accurate throw after Yuvraj had turned back.

Eight deliveries later, England saw the back of Dhoni, who handed Monty Panesar his easiest wicket on a thoroughly disappointing tour. Bell then stunningly intercepted a loose cut to his left at backward point, leaving Gambhir short of his hundred by three runs and prompting India to declare.

For practical purposes, it should have happened earlier, after Yuvraj and Gambhir batted England out of contention. India had dug themselves into a pattern of nervous watchfulness yesterday afternoon, their strenuous approach numbing a sparse crowd into a coma, but Yuvraj's sparkling innings before stumps had livened up proceedings.

This morning, as the gloom steadily cleared, Yuvraj carried on in the same vein and succeeded in drawing some aggression from Gambhir too, whose bat had attracted barnacles on day four.

Yuvraj grabbed the initiative with a medley of punchy drives and slogs, including one particularly disdainful six off James Anderson. The last couple of Yuvraj's sixes came against his old sparring partner Broad and recalled images of that famous over in Durban, when he hit six in a row.

First came an audacious shot, a front-foot, flat-batted bludgeon over mid-on, and then a scoop over backward point. Broad then bowled a clever wide yorker which Yuvraj edged to third man for a single, and Gambhir saw out the over.

India's decision to come out after lunch will draw plenty of debate. The two set batsmen had already shoved England into a deep corner, and it appeared the only reason to continue batting was to hunt individual records.

In the end, neither Gambhir nor Yuvraj raised landmarks while India scored just 35 runs in the last 10 overs. After the thriller in Chennai, it was the weather, ultimately, that scuppered what could have been a great Test.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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Jamie Alter Senior sub-editor While teachers in high school droned on about Fukuyama and communism, young Jamie's mind tended to wander to Old Trafford and the MCG. Subsequently, having spent six years in the States - studying Political Science, then working for an insurance company - and having failed miserably at winning any cricket converts, he moved back to India. No such problem in Bangalore, where he can endlessly pontificate on a chinaman who turned it around with a flipper, and why Ricky Ponting is such a good hooker. These days he divides his time between playing office cricket and constant replenishments at one of the city's many pubs.
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Tour Results
India v England at Mohali - Dec 19-23, 2008
Match drawn
India v England at Chennai - Dec 11-15, 2008
India won by 6 wickets
Ind Pres XI v England XI at Vadodara - Dec 5-7, 2008
Match cancelled without a ball bowled
India v England at Delhi - Dec 2, 2008
Match cancelled without a ball bowled
India v England at Guwahati - Nov 29, 2008
Match cancelled without a ball bowled
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