Cricket: Dravid's patient climb

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India 410 South Africa 0-0

Rahul Dravid notched his maiden Test century yesterday, completing nine hours of batting over two days to score 148 runs and power India to a first-innings total of 410 in the third Test against South Africa.

Dravid, 24, scored the fourth-highest individual total at the Wanderers Ground in Johannesburg as India started well in their bid to avoid a series sweep on South African soil. Dravid came on after an hour on the first day and lasted until the final delivery of the innings, a rising one from the South African captain Hansie Cronje which he stroked straight to Shaun Pollock.

Dravid had faced 362 deliveries and hit only 21 boundaries, using patience and control to increase his score over 540 minutes. The morning session yesterday was cancelled by rain, with play on the second day starting in the early afternoon. Saurav Ganguly teamed with Dravid for a 145-run partnership and scored 73 runs himself, while Javagal Srinath contributed 41 and Anil Kumble, 29.

The South African openers Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten looked at two balls before umpires called play for the day due to poor light.

(Second day; India won toss)

INDIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 233-3)

V C Rathore c Richardson b Adams 13

N Mongia b Donald 21

R S Dravid c Pollock b Cronje 148

*S R Tendulkar c McMillan b Cronje 35

S Ganguly c McMillan b Klusener 73

M Azharuddin c Hudson b Klusener 18

V V S Laxman retired hurt 0

A Kumble c Richardson b Klusener 29

J Srinath c Hudson b Donald 41

D Ganesh c Cullinan b Donald 1

B K V Prasad not out 2

Extras (lb-15 nb-9 w-5) 29

Total 410

Fall (cont): 4-245 5-266 6-327 7-403 8-408 9-410.

Bowling: Donald 32.1-9-88-3 (w3); Pollock 30-11-55-0 (nb6); McMillan 21.5-4-50-0; Klusener 27-6-75-3 (nb3 w2); Adams 24-6-88-1; Cronje 16.3- 5-39-2.

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings

A C Hudson not out 0

G Kirsten not out 0

Total (for no wicket) 0

To bat: A M Bacher, D J Cullinan, *W J Cronje, B M McMillan, S M Pollock, D J Richardson, L Klusener, A A Donald, P Adams

Bowling (to date): Srinath 0.2-0-0-0.