New Delhi:In reply to England's 316, India finished the second day of the Chennai Test with 155 runs on the board at the loss of six wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Indian skipper MS Dhoni (24*) and Harbhajan Singh (13*) will resume batting on Saturday.
England pacer James Anderson drew first blood when he removed Indian opener Virender Sehwag for just 9 runs. A short of length delivery from Anderson, came in after pitching on the off. Sehwag, who scored 319 runs on this ground earlier this year, tried to cut it towards third man but the ball crashed into the stumps after taking an inside edge of his bat. He added 16 runs for the first wicket with Gautam Gambhir.
Debutant spinner Graeme Swann gave an impressive start to his Test career as he dismissed Gambhir as the second Indian batsman for 19 runs. The left-hander took a long stride to pad away a delivery that came in and umpire Daryl Harper raised his finger. Gambhir's departure brought Sachin Tendulkar in the middle. Two balls later, Dravid too was deceived by Swann's line and got beaten by the turn.
After losing three quick wickets, Tendulkar and Laxman combined to take their side out of trouble. Laxman joined Tendulkar and the duo added 61 runs for the fourth wicket before Monty Panesar took a return catch to see the former back in the hut for 24 runs.
Tendulkar, who became the second Indian cricketer to complete 2000 Test runs against England when he hit sixth run of his innings, made 37 runs before Flintoff struck to dismiss him. The Indian maestro played a casual drive in the air that the bowler caught in his follow-through.
Fall of two biggies - VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar - in successive overs saw India's last recognized batting pair of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in the middle. Yuvraj, who made his comeback in the Test side after seven months following Sourav Ganguly's retirement and his performance in the recently concluded ODI series, could not do much with bat and perished to Steve Harmison for 14 runs. A Harmison-delivery after pitching on middle stump, swung towards the off-side and Yuvraj gently nudged it to Flintoff at second slip.
Earlier, England made 316 runs in their first innings with the help of Andrew Strauss's 123, Alastair Cook's 52 and a fighting fifty from Matt Prior at the Chidambaram Stadium. Prior remained unbeaten on 53 as, Indian pacer Ishant Sharma trapped Panesar in front of the wicket for 6 runs as the last English man.
England's Flintoff and Anderson resumed batting on Friday with their overnight score of 229/5. Freddie could add nothing to the score and fell prey to Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra for 18 runs. After starting the day with the pacers, Indian skipper MS Dhoni went for the bowling change and brought in Mishra. Flintoff came onto the front foot to play a defensive shot but the ball took inside edge of the bat, hit his pads and went to Gambhir standing at forward short leg.
Mishra struck again to claim Anderson as his second wicket of the day (third of the match). A flighted delivery lured the England night watchman to go for the shot and Yuvraj Singh, who turned 27 on Friday, caught him at mid-on for 19 runs.
Harbhajan Singh, who picked two wickets on Thursday, got his third in Graeme Swann, who could not handle the bounce that the off-spinner generated from the deteriorating track and edged it to Rahul Dravid at first slip.
Losing three wickets in the first session, England looked to collapse under 300 but for wicketkeeper batsman Prior, who struck a much-needed fifty to take his team's score past that mark. Prior, who came to the crease after Flintoff's dismissal, had a 42-run partnership with James Anderson for the seventh wicket and added 27 runs with Harmison for the ninth wicket. Harmison was dismissed by birthday boy Yuvraj who treated himself with his wicket. Soon after his dismissal, Prior got his fifth Test fifty which was his first against India.
Match report: 1st Test, Day 1