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Dravid, Dhoni propel India to 385 for 6 at close

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India finished Day 1 of the first Test at Ahmedabad on a high putting on 385 for 6 on the board. Rahul Dravid has remained unconquered with a strokeful 177. The former Skipper lost his partner MS Dhoni towards the fag end of the day’s play but not before piling up a 224-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

The final session saw Dravid and Dhoni take full control of the situation. Muralitharan and Herath struggled to create any impression on the two. Both batsmen used their feet at will and played plenty of full blooded shots. Dravid who resumed the final session on 98 first knocked off his 27th Test hundred and in delight punched his arm as if he was making a statement to the critics. Dhoni at the other end worked his way to a 17th Test fifty and the pair saw India through safely past the drinks break at 299 for 5 in 70 overs.

Dhoni unnoticingly inched towards his hundred and this time made sure that he wasn’t going to perish in the 90s. A step out cover drive off Herath in the 86th over brought what was his second Test hundred and a maiden one at home. The Indian Skipper had also gone past 2000 Test runs in the course of his innings. A few balls after scoring his hundred, Dhoni’s luck ran out and one of his flashy upper cuts went off the edge to be caught behind by the keeper. Dammika Prasad picked up his second wicket with a lot of extra bounce with the second new ball to send back Dhoni who had already done plenty of damage with his 110 (from 159 balls with 10 fours and a six). The Indian Skipper had atleast three lucky moments in his innings – surviving two close lbw shouts from Herath’s mystery arm ball and Welegedara’s inswinger plus an edge that flew between slip and keeper.

The last few minutes of play saw Rahul Dravid focussing on remaining not out to start fresh the next day. Harbhajan Singh survived 11 balls to ensure that India did not squander the advantage towards the end. Dravid faced 251 balls to score 177 runs with 26 fours and a six. Towards the end of the day, he also became the fifth batsman to register 11,000 Test runs. This score of 385 for 6 was the highest number of runs scored on the first day’s play by India. The last session saw India score 164 runs in 36 overs at the loss of Dhoni’s wicket.

The homeside is looking good to go past atleast 450 with Rahul Dravid not showing any signs of giving it away through reckless shots. The onus will now be on the Sri Lankan batsmen tomorrow to bring their team back in the match. It was a disappointing day for their two spinners – Murali and Herath who went for a combined 163 runs in 42 overs.

Originally posted 2009-11-16 12:15:24.

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