Friday, August 26, 2011

England v India/Dravid: The Fourth Test, Day 4

Those with tickets to day 5 were very much hoping that today would be the day that India would turn up in the series. They did. Sort of. If your name is Rahul and your last name is Dravid. Here's what happened at The Oval on day 4:

Dhoni, having looked massively uncomfortable at the crease, finally departs to Anderson.

He pushes at an Anderson outswinger outside off and can only nick it behind to Matt Prior. India are 137-6 and the loss of their captain, even though his form has been pretty naff this series, is a blow.
Dravid is still going as the whole series becomes essentially England v Dravid. 
He gets a four off Swann to take him to 98 and ever closer to his third century of the series. 
And he reaches it with a two off Bresnan.
Anderson and Swann give chase...
But Dravid can come back comfortably for the two and raises his wings to The Oval crowd.
He reaches his century off 168 balls. It's India's third century of the series by the same centurion. 
Well played, Jammy. 
Mishra, proving more useful with the bat rather than the ball, hits an enormous six off Swann.
India reach the lunch break on 218-6. 
As is the plan against tail enders, Bressy Lad bangs one in short and Mishra ends  up mistiming a pull behind square leg.
You'd expect it to be safe, but the spirit of Paul Collingwood's gingerness lives on in the form of Ian Bell and he pulls off an extraordinary catch to dismiss Mishra for 43.
Bell's catch reduces India to 224-7, way shy of the follow on target. Dravid is still in and Gambhir has finally decided he can bat.
He doesn't last long and he only makes 10. 
He spoons a catch to KP in the gully to reduce India to 264-8. Can they finally make 300?
Dravid is still going. He brings the Indian total closer to that elusive 300 mark...
As he gets one through the covers for a four.
RP Singh plays a quick 25 off 23 deliveries which has helped India reach 300 for the first time this series, but soon he cannot decide whether or not to play at a ball from Bressy Lad. 
Instead, he ends up unintentionally guiding it to Anderson at third slip. 
Sreesanth lasts only two balls. 
He drives straight to Eoin Morgan. India have finally scored 300. But they're all out.
Dravid finishes on 146 not out and, despite batting for a day will probably be forced to bat again as Gambhir struggles with concussion/his various ailments/being unable to leave Sharma for too long.  

England do indeed enforce the follow on. They have a session and a day to bowl India out.  India survive the remainder of the afternoon session without losing a wicket. They reach 25-0 at tea.
On 25-0, Dravid gets a scare. 
The ball passes very close to Dravid's bat and loops up to Cook at short leg, who takes the catch. England appeal. 
Dravid is given out, but wants to review. 
And his decision to review is justified, as the ball clearly came off just pad. India remain on 25-0. 
Then on 49-0, it's England's turn to use a review. 
The ball passes very close to Dravid's inside edge and is once again caught by Cook (although he almost makes a complete hash of it). England claim the catch, but Rod Ducker is not impressed. 
Strauss reviews. 
And Dravid is given out. He falls for 13 and England have the breakthrough. It is probably Dravid's last Test innings in England, but it is the 146* that people should remember, rather than the 13 made as he was knackered after batting for 378 minutes when the next longest time someone was at the crease was 85.
Sehwag, feeling his way back into Test cricket after a shoulder injury, has a start.
But Swann bowls him through his defences as he gets some spin off the pitch. 
Sehwag goes for 33 and in comes the man of the moment, Sachin Tenduckar.
Tenduckar responds to the pressure from Anderson by driving him for a boundary. 

Quaxman's poor tour comes to an end as he receives another beauty from Jimmy. 
His off stump is sent cartwheeling and India are 118-3.
England need 7 more wickets to claim a 4-0 whitewash. 
India reach the close on 129-3. Tenduckar is still there, meaning that day 5 tickets are hot cakes and if you got yours on Friday and spent the weekend worrying about whether or not there would be play, you can feel suitably smug, despite the £53 rail fare (thanks National Express EA). Could England win? Would Sachin finally get that 100th 100 so everyone can stop going on about it? Would India put up a fight? 
All that and more in the day 5 duck cricket blog that's almost a week late soon. 

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