Dravid defies Sri Lanka
Veteran's masterclass leads India out of early trouble
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: December 4, 2009 6:32pm
Fist pump: Dravid reaches three figures for the 27th time in a Test
First Test Match
India 385-6 (R Dravid 177 no, M S Dhoni 110, Yuvraj Singh 68) v Sri Lanka
Rahul Dravid became the fifth batsman to reach 11,000 Test runs as India closed at 385-6 on the opening day against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad.
Dravid reached stumps on 177 not out having seen the hosts out of early trouble and into a position of strength in the first Test.
He shared a century stand with Yuvraj Singh either side of lunch after Sri Lanka's seamers exploited favourable early conditions to reduce India to 32-4 in the eighth over.
Yuvraj (68) was Muttiah Muralitharan's solitary victim early in the second session but Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dravid continued the revival with a 224-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Dravid went through to his 27th Test ton shortly after tea as the visitors' search for another breakthrough began to look increasingly forlorn.
Dhoni completed his first hundred on home soil - and just the second of his career - from 154 balls before departing with just under three overs remaining.
The India captain edged Dammika Prasad to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene for 110, including 10 fours and a six.
There was still time for Dravid to reach another landmark, pushing a single off Chanaka Welegedara to join Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Allan Border in the exclusive 11,000-run club.
It had all looked very different at the start of the day when left-arm paceman Welegedara produced an incisive opening spell.
Sri Lanka were without front-line seamers Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara through injury and, in their absence, the new ball was shared by Welegedara and Prasad, who boasted a combined four previous Test appearances.
Welegedara (3-75) accounted for Gautam Gambhir (16), Virender Sehwag (1) and Sachin Tendulkar (4) as India slipped to 31-3 having opted to bat first.
That became a full-scale crisis at 32-4 when Prasad (2-90) followed up with the wicket of VVS Laxman, who played on to his stumps for a duck.
But Dravid, initially in the company of Yuvraj and then alongside Dhoni, proved an immovable object as the remainder of the day belonged emphatically to the batsmen.