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Gambhir leads Indian charge
Mohali, Dec 19 (Agencies):
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Published on 20 Dec. 2008 12:48 AM IST
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The first day of the final Test saw the prowess of the Indian top order as the dynamic on-crease understanding of Gambhir-Dravid stole the thunder from the English bowlers. The day ended with the scorecard reading 179/1, a sign of the good run of form continued by Dhoni’s men. Although the weather gods were unmerciful for the cricketers and the fans as bad light halted the progress of the game more than once, leading to less compilation of runs, the tremendous unbeaten partnership of the two stalwarts of Indian cricket offered a treat till the time the game was in progress. Gautam Gambhir stayed true to his cracking form and cracked a solid century to stamp his authority at the PCA Stadium as well. His 4th Test ton also showcased his coming of age as a Test batsman as it was milked after facing 215 balls. Rahul Dravid also gave a glimpse of his ‘Wall’ stature as he cracked his gritty 54th Test fifty. The effort ensured that the second spell of the day was dominated by the home team with the Indian scorecard reading 134/1 at tea time. India had clawed back into the game with the slow and steady approach as Gautam Gambhir scored a hard earned fifty before his counterpart at the other end. The mantra of the post-lunch session was wise willow yielding coupled with the desire to punish the loose cherries. With the sheen on the ball gone, English bowlers found it hard to generate the right pace to shake the solid defense offered by the duo of Dravid-Gambhir. While on the other hand, the first session of play had yielded good results for England. They managed to restrict India to 51 runs and picked up a crucial wicket of danger man Virender Sehwag as well. Stuart Broad justified his inclusion in the squad by claiming the prized scalp of the Delhi blaster for a duck. The duo of Dravid and Gambhir then took the mantle in their hands and threw caution to the winds, thereby not allowing further hiccups. Dravid finally broke one of his jinx in the session, he hit his first boundary in four innings. The start of the morning saw Indian skipper MS Dhoni winning the toss and electing to bat first against England at Mohali. The other captain Kevin Pietersen rued the opportunity of losing the toss as the wicket would offer help to the bowlers in the first as well as the last innings of the game. The start of the match had been delayed due to bad light. An overnight fog persisted over the stadium and hence the umpires had to wait before the toss could commence. England had made a change in their team composition by bringing in Stuart Broad in place of Steve Harmison. The move could have been made after the pitch inspection by the skipper as the presence of lots of cracks but with a hint of grass would mean that Broad would have a go at the batsmen in the scenario.

 
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