Dravid guides India to safety but misses ton by five runs

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Mohali, Mar 12 (UNI) Rahul Dravid's cautious 95 and Irfan Pathan's quickfire 52 carried India to safety from their overnight total of 149 for six to 269 for seven at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test against England at the PCA Stadium here today. India now require 31 runs with three wickets in hand to equal England's first innings total of 300 all out.

The Test is heading for a draw after rain and bad light curtailed play on the first two days.

Dravid, who came at the fall of open Virender Sehwag's wicket at 18 yesterday, played the sheet anchor's role guiding India to safety before he returned to the pavillion.

He stayed at the wicket for 322 minutes and faced 208 deliveries slamming 10 fours, including two fine cover drives and one boundary at third man in one Andrew Flintoff over.

But the England captain got his revenge soon when he uprooted Dravid's middle stump by a ball which nipped back from off.

The Indian captain's sixth-wicket partnership with Pathan yielded valuable 76 runs which were compiled in 82 minutes and from 99 deliveries.

Dravid's dismissal silenced the crowd which was looking forward to a hundred from him.

Meanwhile, Pathan's hurricane 52 came from 58 deliveries after occupying the crease for 109 minutes. He slammed five fours and one six before he was caught by Paul Collingwood off the bowling of Flintoff.

Irfan Pathan drove off the front foot and Collingwood at backward point accepted the catch.

At lunch, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were batting on 10 and seven, respectively.

Flintoff has so far accounted for three dismissals in Indian first innings. Stephen Harmison captured two wickets for 42 runs and Monty Panaser and Matthew Hoggard got one wicket each.

UNI XC PM 1310

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