Wed, Dec 24, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Heartbreak for Gambhir as Test drawn

IN FORM Despite missing out on his century, the opener scored 1,134 Test runs this year, including three tons and as many half-centuries in his last eight innings

AFP , MOHALI, INDIA

India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni bowls during yesterday’s final day of the second Test between India and England in Mohali, India.

PHOTO: AFP

India’s Gautam Gambhir missed his second century of the match by three runs as the second Test against England was drawn yesterday, giving the hosts a 1-0 series win.

The left-hander, who scored 179 in the first innings, had made 97 in the second knock when he was caught at point off by Graeme Swann soon after lunch on the fifth day, signalling India’s declaration at 251-7.

The tourists, set a near impossible target of 403 in a minimum of 43 overs, preferred to play out time and were 64-1 from 28 overs when the match was called off at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Indians clinched the two-match series after having won the first Test in Chennai by six wickets.

It was Dhoni’s first drawn Test as captain after winning all his previous four matches at the helm.

A stalemate was on the cards after 80 overs were lost over the five days due to dense winter fog in the mornings and bad light in the evenings.

The final day’s play yesterday, which was also delayed by two hours and 30 minutes due to fog, was lit up by a stroke-filled 153-run stand for the fifth wicket between Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh.

The duo, who resumed on the overnight score of 134-4, hammered 82 runs from 13 overs in the hour-long session before lunch.

Yuvraj hit a typically aggressive 86 off 91 balls, his fifth Test half-century studded with six boundaries and four sixes.

Two of those sixes came off successive deliveries against Stuart Broad, the same bowler Yuvraj smashed for six sixes in a single over during the Twenty20 world championships in South Africa last year.

Yuvraj fell soon after lunch, the third Indian batsman to be run out in the innings, while Dhoni gave Monty Panesar a return catch before he had scored.

Gambhir, who was 80 at lunch, moved to 97 before he failed to keep down a cut off Swann and Bell took a tumbling catch at point.

The 27-year-old Delhi opener compiled 1,134 runs from eight Tests this year, having scored three hundreds and as many half-centuries in his last eight innings.

The best of Gambhir’s three centuries this year was the 206 he made against world champions Australia in New Delhi in October in a series India won 2-0 to claim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Gambhir was the fourth Indian to surpass 1,000 runs this year after Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman and Virender Sehwag.

The only other instance in Test history of four batsmen from a country scoring 1,000 runs in one year was when England’s Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook did it in 2006.

When England batted a second time on the final day, Cook was caught in the slips by Laxman off Ishant Sharma for 10.

Strauss, who hit a century in each innings in the Chennai Test, remained unbeaten with 21. Ian Bell made 24 not out.

The Test ended in a farce when Dhoni took off his wicket-keeping pads and gloves to bowl the final over with Laxman taking charge behind the stumps.

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