They say batsmen are at their best once they're past their 30s but what if you're approaching 40s? You get even better, ask Rahul Dravid who's found this sublime form in recent times and today played an innings of solidarity that'll keep visitors in the game till the very end despite Stuart Broad broke their back in last session, registering the first hat-trick by an Englishman against India in tests..
The scores :-
England 221 & 24/1.
India 288/10 in 91.1 ovs.
Scorecard : 2nd test, 2011.
So how did the story unfold on day 2? it all started pretty quitely for home team as VVS Laxman came out stroking the ball perfectly in first session. Dravid was happy watching his artist mate at showcase his class at other end and it wasn't untill Laxman's dismissal in second hour that he decided to guide a few down the third man himself to keep scoreboard tickling as Sachin Tendulkar went about setting himself.
Tendulkar, in his 100th overseas test, looked in attacking mood but his luck didn't favour him when he went for an upper cut off Stuart Broad after lunch break. Suresh Raina was pamperred with bouncers he had few answers to and soon guided an Anderson delivery straight to Eoin Morgan at point. 4 wickets down with still 82 runs in deficit, Indians desperately needed a partnership and Yuvraj Singh obliged after he was dropped on 4 by Kevin Pietersen, dodging every bullet English threw at them and sweeping Graeme Swann strongly in his half century.
128 good runs with Dravid who fought it out despite being hit on hand and suffering from cramp, Yuvraj finally fell to persistent outside offstump line by home team which trigger visitors downfall, big time. Stuart Broad, with second new ball, found his length and claimed MS Dhoni driving cluelessly outside offstump and then luckily got Harbhajan Singh lbw although ball had taken big edge off his bat. Praveen Kumar was bowled first ball to give Broad's his life long cherishing hat-trick but that wasn't the end of the drama.
Dravid, having completed his 34th test century, lost his patience and cut straight to third man next over while last man Ishant Sharma was acrobatically caught by Ian Bell couple of overs later. India managed just 67 runs lead when they should have got atleast 200 in front.
Starting second innings, captain Andrew Strauss took the burden on himself after Alastair Cook was out cheaply for the 3rd time in the series. Ian Bell came out at no.3 as Jonathan Trott had hurt his shoulder fielding earlier in the day and saw off throught to stumps with England only runs behind with 9 wickets in hand.
21 wickets have fallen in two days in this Trent Bridge test which sets up next couple of days intriguingly. Whichever team wants to win more will take the honours at the end.
Dravid equals Gavaskar & Lara
For a man of few words, Rahul Dravid has quitely climbed up the ladder and now is one of five 5 batsmen in the world to score most century in test cricket career. Dravid now has clear competition with Ricky Ponting (on 39 tons) and Jacques Kallis (40 tons) although Sachin Tendulkar (51 tons) seems little out of his reach.