Rawalpindi Test: India 342 for 4 at stumps

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/I/Indpak.jpg' class='caption'> Vice-captain Rahul Dravid scored his 17th Test century today consolidating India's position on the second day of the final Test in Rawalpindi.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Vice-captain Rahul Dravid scored his 17th Test century today consolidating India's position on the second day of the deciding third test between India and Pakistan at Rawalpindi today. Replying to Pakistan's first innings score of 224, India were 342 for four in their first innings at stumps on the second day. India now lead by 118 runs with six wickets remaining. India's score, mainly built around Dravid's knock, his highest score against Pakistan, and a career-best 69 by opener Parthiv Patel, put the visitors in a commanding position in the Test match, which is the 50th between the arch-rivals. Along with Dravid, VVS Laxman (71) scored at will to take a big first innings lead over the hosts. The duo came together after master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed by debutante bowler Fazl-e-Akbar. But Pakistnai speedster Shoaib Akhtar struck and Laxman didn't even realise what hit him when a Shoaib delivery uprooted his leg stump. Captain Sourav Ganguly joined Dravid at the crease and scored a half-century. At stumps, India were 342 for 4 with Dravid (134) and Ganguly (53) to resume tomorrow. Pak strikes After a frustrating opening session, the Pak bowlers tasted success in the post-lunch session when Akbar got rid of overnight batsman Parthiv Patel for 69. But disaster really struck India, when Sachin Tendulkar was caught behind off Akbar after scoring just one run to reduce India to 130 for three. Laxman then joined vice captain Dravid on the crease as both batted sensibly to avoid another mini-collapse. But Shoaib Akhtar, with a brilliant delivery dismissed Laxman for 71. Patel power Earlier, Patel scored a half-century as the Indian batsmen safely negotiated the first session of play. Resuming at the overnight score of 23 for one, Dravid and Patel batted with caution throughout the first session, scoring 96 runs before lunch. Both the batsmen were circumspect in the early overs and were lucky on a few occasions to survive close chances, but grew in confidence as the session progressed. While the young Patel showed more aggressive intent, the experienced Dravid was quite content in performing the sheet anchor's role. Patel shared a 129-run partnership with Dravid and showed a lot of character during his knock to vindicate skipper Sourav Ganguly's decision to elevate him in the batting order by notching up his highest Test score. Bowlers give edge The Indian bowlers gave their team an edge on day one by bundling out Pakistan for 224. Lakshmipathy Balaji spearheaded the Indian attack, taking a career best four wickets, as the Pakistani top order collapsed on the bowler-friendly pitch after skipper Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bowl. But the Indians got off to a disastrous start when opener Virender Sehwag got out off the first ball of the Indian innings. Dravid and Patel then batted safely till stumps.
(With PTI inputs)

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