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Dravid, Jaffer frustrate England, test heading for a draw

Written by: Staff
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Nagpur, Mar 5 (UNI) Opener Wasim Jaffer and skipper Rahul Dravid put up a solid partnership to frustrate the England bowlers, taking India to 131 for one at tea as the first Test heads for a draw on the fifth and final day here today.

Jaffer and Dravid, who had come together when the team score was on one after the swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag was back in the pavillion without opening his account, resumed from the lunch-break score of 63 for one and remained unseperated till tea.

At the tea-break, Jaffer was batting on 84 notching his second half century of the match and Dravid was on 46.

Earlier, England declared at their overnight score of 297 for three and set a target of 368 for an unlikely victory for the Indians from 90 overs. India now have to bat out 34 overs in the final session to earn a draw, still trailing by 236 runs.

Comeback man, Jaffer did not disappoint the selectors for selecting him in the squad and notched up his second half century of the match and, though he was lucky on a couple of occasions, played according to the situations to fend off the England bowlers.

Resuming on 63 for one, Jaffer first showed the array of shots he could play hitting Flintoff for three glorious fours in the second over after lunch reaching his 50 with another glorious cover-drive which scorched the turf onto the way to the boundary. His half century came from 92 balls and was studded with eight fours.

However soon after, Jaffer drove Hoggard uppishly, but Strauss at extra cover put down a hard chance.

At the other end, Dravid lived up to his nick name 'The Wall' and stoically defended all the bowlers with impecabble technique. He also showed his class when he hit a square cut off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

Jaffer survived a second chance, when Dravid sent him back after playing the ball into the covers. Matt Prior, the substitute fielder for Kevin Pietersen, missed the stumps by a whisker with Jaffer yet to regain his ground. Jaffer was then on 70 with the team score on 100 for one.

The two soon after brought the hundred partnership for the second wicket in 235 balls.

There were no further hiccups as the duo took India safely to tea.

UNI GS SSS PDS KN1552

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