Jaffer sparkles after Collingwood ton

Nagpur, March 2:

Indian opener Wasim Jaffer celebrated his return to international cricket with an aggressive half-century on Thursday after Paul Collingwood’s maiden century bolstered England in the opening test match.

Jaffer struck an unbeaten 73 and shared an imposing second-wicket partnership of 125 with skipper Rahul Dravid (40 not out) as India reached 136 for one in a reply to England’s first-innings score of 393, which revolved around Collingwood’s unbeaten 134.

With support from the tailenders, Collingwood frustrated the Indian attack until after lunch before he ran out of partners.

In reply, India lost opener Virender Sehwag (2) cheaply before Jaffer, making an impressive return to the Indian test side after three years, unleashed his firm drives to hit 13 boundaries from 170 deliveries.

Dravid’s composed 114-ball knock contained six boundaries. Sehwag caused his own downfall, hitting paceman Matthew Hoggard straight to Kevin Pietersen at short mid-off.

Collingwood struck four sixes and 13 boundaries off 252 balls in his unbeaten knock to revive England, which had slumped to 246 for seven on Wednesday.

Resuming on Thursday at 53, Collingwood lost overnight partner Hoggard (11) early today, but shared a 60-run stand for the 9th wicket with Stephen Harmison and then added 66 more for the last wicket with Monty Panesar to spike the Indian bowlers’ hopes of wresting control.

Hoggard was caught behind by Mahendra Dhoni off Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (4-95) and Harmison’s 42 runs off 39 ball ended when offspinner Harbhajan Singh (2-93) had him stumped by Dhoni.

Collingwood was on 79 when last man Panesar joined him, but accelerated the stroke-play to race past his previous best of 96.

Lofting offbreak bowler Singh for a straight six, Collingwood moved to 99 and completed the century off the next ball.

Continuing his assault, Collingwood lifted pace bowler Irfan Pathan (3-92) for six to the sight-screen before hitting him for three successive boundaries next over. Panesar’s defiance ended when speedster Sreesanth returned to trap him lbw half an hour after lunch.


ENGLAND — 1st Innings (overnight 246/7)

P Collingwood not out 134

M Hoggard c Dhoni b Sreesanth 11

S Harmison st Dhoni b Singh 39

M Panesar lbw b Sreesanth 9

Extras: 27 (7b, 7lb, 12nb, 1w)

Total: 393

FoW: 1-56, 2-81, 3-110, 4-136, 5-203, 6-225, 7-244, 8-267, 9-327

India bowling: Pathan 23-5-92-3, Sreesanth 28.5-6-95-4, Singh 34-5-93-2, Kumble 40-13-88-1, Tendulkar 2-0-11-0

INDIA — 1st Innings

W Jaffer not out 73

V Sehwag c Pietersen b Hoggard 2

R Dravid not out 40

Extras: 21 (13b, 1lb, 2nb, 5w)

Total: 136/1

FoW: 1-11

England bowling: Hoggard 12-4-23-1, Harmison 10-3-26-0, Flintoff 9-4-25-0, Panesar 13-3-30-0, Blackwell 4-0-18-0