India reach 117 for two at lunch
The Hyderabadi stylist who scored 54 was at the centre of India’s batting revival as he, along with Dravid frustrated England for nearly the entire session and closed down the deficit to 104 runs. Dravid is batting on 44 with Sachin Tendulkar (14 batting) for company.
Only when it appeared that India would see out the session without any loss, Tim Bresnan produced a brute of a delivery which kicked off from a length and kissed the edge of Laxman’s bat as wicketkeeper Matt Prior gleefully pouched it.
Laxman resisted the England attack for two and half hours hitting 10 boundaries during 112—ball knock. This is Laxman’s fifth half century in the last four Tests.
From the second over of the morning, when Laxman first square cut and then cover drove James Anderson, the middle— order batsman was in his element and thumped the England bowlers around the park.
It had the making of an Indian session when Dravid flicked and off—drove Stuart Broad for boundaries following on the couple of hits to the fence by Laxman in the previous over, to make it four fours from four deliveries.
Laxman teased the England fielders with his placements off an open—faced bat and hit several shots either side of the cover fielders to keep getting boundaries.
England began with Stuart Broad and James Anderson but the two bowlers were reduced to a helpless state by the mastery of the experienced Indian pair.
However when on 27, Laxman did survive a confident caught behind appeal with team score on 48 for one.
As the last delivery of his ninth over passed Laxman’s bat, Anderson and the rest of England fielders began celebrating. Umpire Asad Rauf wasn’t convinced and England skipper Andrew Strauss went for a Decision Review System (DRS). Rauf was vindicated and Laxman survived a scare.
The next few overs were quiet as the two batsmen looked to recover their composure. The deadlock was broken when Dravid pushed a low full—toss from Broad down the ground for a boundary.
In the next over, Anderson pitched one short and Laxman pulled it imperiously for a four. It again followed a flurry of boundaries as first Dravid ran Bresnan down to third man fence and Laxman produced two in two when he steered and flicked Anderson for consecutive boundaries at the other end.
Laxman then reached his half century with a classy off—drive off Bresnan and the prospects of a century stand was palpable. Dravid, when on 30, had hopped on his back foot to a Bresnan delivery which hit him on the right wrist and needed a prolonged attention from team’s physio in the middle.
Laxman then departed half an hour before lunch as England found their voice as India slipped to 93 for two.
Sachin Tendulkar came in for a glorious reception and within a few deliveries, he had smacked an almost good length Jonathan Trott to cover fence. He then steered Bresnan with an open face past the gully fieldsman for yet another four.
Dravid then hit a four down the ground off Bresnan to move into the 40s. In the final over, before lunch, Tendulkar stroked Anderson into the covers to enter into double figures.
Dravid has so far batted for 182 minutes and hit nine fours from 118 balls.
England 1st Innings: 221 all out
India 1st Innings:
Abhinav Mukund c Pietersen b Anderson 0
Rahul Dravid batting 44
VVS Laxman c Prior b Bresnan 54
Sachin Tendulkar batting 14
Extras:(LB—3, W—1, NB—1) 5
Total:(for 2 wkt in 43 overs) 117
Fall of wickets: 1—0, 2—93
Bowling: Anderson 14—4—46—1, Broad 13—6—19—0, Bresnan 12—4—31—1, Trott 4—1—18—0.