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Rediff.com  » Cricket » India looking to Tendulkar to save Test

India looking to Tendulkar to save Test

Last updated on: August 22, 2011 00:09 IST

Bikash Mohapatra reports from The Oval, on theĀ fourth day's play in the fourth Test.

The last nail in Team India's coffin will be hit on the final day of the Test series.

- Scorecard / Dravid surpasses Gavaskar

England will need seven wickets to complete a 4-0 whitewash. If there is some help from the weather gods -- rain is forecast for Monday afternoon -- they shouldn't have much trouble achieving the same.

The visitors ended Day Four at 129 for three, needing a further 162 to make the home team bat again.

Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 35 and giving him company was night watchman Amit Mishra on eight.

The Master Blaster's 100th Test hundred, should it come on Monday, would be the only thing to look forward to for an Indian fan, the result of the match being a foregone conclusion.

Earlier, after failing to put together 300 runs for six innings in succession, the visitors got it right in the seventh. Well, just about.

A resolute 146 not out from the ever-dependable Rahul Dravid helped India score exactly 300 in their first essay.

The effort was commendable, considering they began the day precariously placed at 103 for five, albeit far off the home side's first innings total (591).

England wasted no time in enforcing the follow on and making early inroads into the Indian second innings.

Morning session (115 runs, 33 overs, one wicket):

The Indian batsmen knew exactly what they had to do when they came out to bat on the fourth day.The intent was clear. The application was apparent.

And the results well, satisfactory.

The visitors added 34 runs in 12 overs in the first hour.

Rahul DravidMS Dhoni (17) survived twice during the first hour. The first instance came in the third ball of the day's second over (off Swann) when umpire Simon Taufel wasn't interested in a leg before shout.

The replays, however, confirmed the ball would have clipped the off stump.

A few overs later Broad induced an edge off the Indian captain's blade but the ball bounced just short of Strauss at first slip.

The introduction of Anderson into the attack however, ensured the dismissal of Dhoni. The bowler struck in his second over having him caught behind.

Dhoni helped Dravid put on 42 runs for the sixth wicket. The veteran albeit continued doing the job he has does so admirably in the series.

Three boundaries in four balls off a Swann over helped him reach 99 and a couple in Bresnan's first over helped him register this third century of the series.

It was Dravid's 35th Test hundred -- helping him get past Sunil Gavaskar's 34, and his seventh against England. It was the first time since 2002 that the batsman had scored three hundreds in a series.

In Mishra he found an able ally, the duo putting on 74 runs for the seventh wicket even as a padded up Gautam Gambhir's wait to come to the crease increased.

Besides easing the pressure off Dravid, Mishra impressed with some good shot-making of his own, a magnificent six over long-on off Swann, the last ball before lunch, being the pick of the lot.

At lunch, the visitors had made 218 for six (after 66 overs). Dravid was unbeaten on 109 and Mishra on 38. They need a further 174 to avoid the follow-on.

Post-lunch session (82 runs, 28 overs, four wickets):

If the Indian hopes had received a boost before lunch, it was in for an early shock after resumption.

It took just 21 balls before England made the breakthrough they so desperately needed. A spectacular catch by Ian Bell behind square ended Mishra's resistance, Bresnan being the beneficiary.

The leggie made 43, his 77-ball knock inclusive of six boundaries and a maximum. More importantly, he and Dravid put on 87 runs for the seventh wicket to ease the pressure a bit.

His dismissal ensured the arrival of Gautam Gambhir (10) into the crease -- the opener having not batted a day earlier owing to concussions as a result of the fall he had while attempting to catch Pietersen.

The veteran duo combined well for a brief while, taking care of the new ball. However, Broad's persistence ensured him Gambhir's wicket.

In his fourth over with the new ball, the bowler dig one short, and Gambhir, while trying to fend it off, could only edge to Pietersen running in from gully.

RP Singh got into the act fast, scoring 11 off the first four balls he faced, including successive boundaries off Anderson. The bowler was more impressive with the bat, making a quick fire 23-ball 25.

However, a calculated bowling change by Strauss hastened the end of the Indian innings.

Tim Bresnan, bowling his first over with the new ball, struck with his fourth ball having RP caught by Anderson at third slip.

S Sreesanth survived just two balls before hitting straight to Eoin Morgan at short cover.

India managed exactly 300 in their first essay, 291 runs adrift of the English total. The home team wasted no opportunity in enforcing a follow on.

India, second innings (25 runs, six overs, no wickets):

The visitors had made 25 without loss aft tea in their second innings, needing a further 266 to make their hosts bat again.

Virender Sehwag was unbeaten on 16 and Dravid on seven.

Post-tea session (124 runs, 29 overs, three wickets):

In the third ball after resumption, Swann appeared to have Dravid caught by Cook at short leg. The decision was given.

The batsman, however, was convinced he hadn't nicked it. He went straight for a review, without wasting a moment. Dravid's conviction was vindicated.

Swann though got the batsman in his fourth over, in a manner that seemed a replica of the one mentioned above.

Dravid was caught by Cook at short leg, the umpire didn't think so and England went for a review on this occasion.

They got it right, getting the key wicket out for 13. Dravid having batted for the whole of the first innings and some of second, had been finally dismissed. His opening wicket stand with Sehwag had yielded India 49 runs.

Sehwag didn't survive long either, Swann rattling his stumps in his seventh over. It was a classic off spinner's dismissal, with a ball than spun, found its way between the bat and the pad and hit Sehwag's middle stump. His 67-ball 33, inclusive of five boundaries, would be his best score of the series.

VVS Laxman (24) and Tendulkar put on 54 runs for the third wicket before Anderson rattled the right-handers stumps with a delivery that angled in and held its line.

Tendulkar and Mishra ensured the remaining overs were negotiated without any further damage.