Dravid Stands Firm But England Close Well Ahead
England 474-8 dec. (Pietersen 202no) & 5-0
India 286 (Dravid 103no, Broad 4-37)
First Test, Lord's, day three
| | Day Two
Rahul Dravid stood firm to register his maiden Test century at Lord's in the face of some excellent bowling from England, led by a rejuvenated Stuart Broad on day three of the opening Test.
Dravid was unbeaten on 103 as India, replying to England's 474 for eight declared, were bowled out for 286 and the home side closed on 5-0 having survived a tricky session late on to lead by 193 runs.
It could and perhaps should have been far worse for India as Dravid was dropped by Andrew Strauss and VVS Laxman missed by Graeme Swann before he had scored in the same Broad over.
The Laxman miss was not too costly as he lifted Chris Tremlett into the hands of Jonathan Trott at fine leg having made ten but Dravid made England pay with a patient and classy innings.
He was precise and elegant with his strokeplay, scoring the majority of his runs on the off side but no less effective on the leg-side, where the two runs to take him to his 33rd century in all, came.
He faced 220 balls and hit 15 fours, eventually running out of partners as England got reward for a good day's work, led by Broad, who by bowling fuller, forced the batsmen to play and drew them out of their comfort zones.
He struck early to bowl both Gautam Gambhir (15) and Abhinav Mukund (49) - Gambhir comprehensively beaten by a full, swinging delivery and Mukund unlucky to drag on a wide ball.
Sachin Tendulkar (34) played fluently before lunch but Broad had his wicket when he edged to Swann who took a sharp low catch at second slip.
England then had their over horribilis but were soon in business as Laxman's departure was followed almost immediately by Suresh Raina's, the left-hander trapped in front by Swann to a ball that hurried him.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered Dravid vital support but fell for 28, undone once again by the new ball as he edged Tremlett and Swann took another fine catch, this time diving to his right at second slip.
Harbhajan Singh lasted as many balls - two - as he has Test centuries before Tremlett induced another edge and Matthew Prior gratefully accepted the catch and it took some lusty hitting from Praveen Kumar, who hammered 17 in 13 balls, to take India past the follow-on target.
He fell when he had no answer to a Broad bouncer, Strauss taking a simple catch as the ball looped off his bat and James Anderson swiftly wrapped things up by bowling Zaheer Khan and having Ishant Sharma caught by Prior - both without scoring.
Broad returned excellent figures of four for 37, Tremlett three for 80 and Anderson two for 87 with Swann somewhat below his best in taking one for 50.
Strauss then made three not out and Cook was yet to score before stumps.
India won the toss and inserted England on the opening day, which was ended early due to rain, only to see Kevin Pietersen's unbeaten double-century help England into a strong position despite Kumar's five-wicket haul on Day Two.
© Cricket World 2011