Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman held firm as India eyed a record-breaking
chase in the first Test after Matt Prior’s unbeaten century had swung
the match back England’s way at Lord’s on Sunday.
India, at the
close of the fourth day, were 1-80 in their second innings. They need a
further 378 in a minimum of 98 overs on Monday’s final day to reach
their victory target of 458 — a run-rate of 3.85 an over.
is the 2000th Test of all-time and no side has ever scored more in the
fourth innings to win a match than the West Indies’ 7-418 against
Australia in Antigua in 2002/03.
Dravid, who made 103 not out in
India’s first innings, was unbeaten on 34 having opened in place of
Gautam Gambhir who was injured fielding at short leg earlier in the day,
Laxman was 32 not out, with the experienced duo’s stand so far worth 61.
Prior, who came in with England having collapsed to 5-62, said: “I think we’re probably just ahead.”
And the wicketkeeper backed England off-spinner Graeme Swann to make a telling contribution on the last day.
“It’s a huge amount of runs to get and when the ball gets older, Swanny will play a big role.”
Prior, playing his natural game, made 103 not out off 120 balls, including a six and five fours.
It was Prior’s sixth century in 44 Tests and second in as many at Lord’s following his 126 against Sri Lanka last month.
Broad, who’d led England’s attack with 4-37 in India’s first innings,
gave Prior excellent support in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 162
at nearly a run-a-ball as India’s depleted attack toiled on a sunny day.
who bats left-handed but bowls right, demonstrated his all-round
ability with a fluent 74 not out off 90 balls including nine fours.
pulled Suresh Raina for six to go into the 90s before a four off the
part-time spinner took him to his third Test century at Lord’s — he
also made 126 not out at the ground on debut against the West Indies in
As soon as Prior got to his century, England captain Andrew
Strauss declared on 6-269 and with 30 overs left in the day’s play.
joy continued when he struck third ball to bowl Abhinav Mukund for 12,
the left-hander playing on to him for the second time in the match.
seamer Ishant Sharma rocked England with three wickets for one run in
16 balls before lunch on his way to 4-59 in 22 overs.
ripped through England’s middle-order as first innings double centurion
Kevin Pietersen was dismissed for one, Ian Bell for nought and Jonathon
Trott for 22.
Surprisingly, Sharma didn’t take up the attack
immediately after lunch but he said he still felt tired after bowling 11
overs on the reel.
India are currently top of the ICC’s Test
Championship table, although they will be replaced at the summit by
England if the hosts win this four-match series by two clear Tests.
Sharma, asked if India could win this match, insisted: “Yes, that’s the
good thing about the Indian dressing room, we are always confident.”