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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Swann, Flintoff star for England, India all out for 453

Graeme Swann triggered a top order collapse and Andrew Flintoff polished off the tail to abort India's bid to bury England under a run mountain on day two of
the second and final cricket Test on Saturday.

Resuming on 179 for one, India's overnight batsmen Gautam Gambhir (179) and Rahul Dravid (136) starred in a record 314-run stand for the second wicket before Swann and Flintoff pegged back the hosts who lost wickets in a heap towards the end to be all out for 453 runs in 158.2 overs.

England openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook did walk out to begin their first innings but once they were offered light, both returned to the pavilion without facing a ball.

Interestingly, the sun came out soon after. The morning session, which yielded 123 runs from 27 overs without any wicket falling, clearly belonged to the hosts, who looked set for at least 500 runs.

Fortune, however, fluctuated in the post-lunch session, which saw just 54 runs being scored off 28 overs with four Indian wickets tumbling in quick successions.

England dominated the final session as well, claiming the lower half of the Indian batting order conceding 97 runs. On a misty morning when the ball did quite a bit, both the overnight batsmen Gambhir and Dravid scratched around for a while before some easy boundaries calmed their nerves.

Much to their bemusement, they found singles were not easy to come by even though boundaries kept flowing. Gambhir cut Andrew Flintoff for a delectable boundary to score India's first runs of the day and twice stepped out to hit Monty Panesar for a couple of fours in his only over before lunch.

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