Gambhir, Dravid grind England on Day 1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> A 173-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid took India's score to 179/1 at the end of first day's play in Mohali.

Updated: December 19, 2008 12:30 IST
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New Delhi:

Under the poor light conditions in Mohali, India batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid combined for the second wicket and had an unbeaten 173-run stand to take India's score to 179/1 at the close of first day's play at the PCA Stadium. A delayed start and early close saw the loss of 18 overs as 72 overs were bowled out of the required 90 overs.

Electing to bat first, India got early blow in the form of opener Virender Sehwag's wicket. The Indian opener, who was the architect of India's epic win in Chennai, failed to give India a good start and departed for a naught.

England pacer Stuart Broad, who came in place of Steve Harmison, pitched one outside the off-stump. Sehwag played it on the drive but an outside edge saw keeper Matt Prior take a comfortable catch behind the wicket.

Sehwag's dismissal saw an out-of-form Rahul Dravid in action in the third over. India's no. 3 batsman, who's had a dismal run this year, looked a bit shaky in the beginning. But he slowly gained ground and took a sigh of relief with a composed half-century that was his first in the last nine innings.

Dravid, who averages 28 this year in comparison to his career average of 52, gave a much needed boost to his average and most importantly his confidence when he struck 54th Test fifty, his ninth against England.

In-form Indian opener Gambhir, however, continued with his purple catch and slammed the fourth Test hundred, his first against England. This was also his second consecutive century at the PCA Stadium. He had made 104 runs against Australia in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India: MS Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma.

England: Kevin Pietersen (Captain), Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

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