Weather rescue India from the brink of defeat

London, July 23:

The weather came to India’s rescue as they drew the first Test at Lord’s on Monday with England just a wicket away from going 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Bad light, which forced an early tea, with India, at 282-9, still 98 runs shy of their imposing victory target of 380, initially gave the tourists a dramatic reprieve. The umpires had hoped to re-start the match at 4:40pm local time, just as the covers were being removed, rain fell and ended play.

However, it wasn’t just the weather alone that saved India. Wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, after several failures by the top order, made an invaluable 76 not out where he faced 159 balls and struck 10 fours. He also did a good job of protecting last man Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (four), surviving a Monty Panesar leg before wicket appeal in the process.

India were 207-5 at lunch. VVS Laxman was 29 not out and Dhoni 28 not out. The pair had come together following the loss of two quick wickets that left India struggling at 145-5. But a stand worth 86 was ended when Chris Tremlett, who took 3-52, bowled Laxman for 39.

India started the final day on 137-3 with Dinesh Karthik on 56 not out and Sourav Ganguly on 36. Both Karthik and Ganguly were out adding just four runs each to their overnight scores.