India clinch series after dull draw in Mohali

Mohali: India wrapped up the two-match Test series against England with a 1-0 margin as the second and final Test ended in a tame draw here on Tuesday with the hosts preferring to play it safe rather than push for an improbable victory.

After being set a near-impossible target of 403 from 43 overs, England scored 64 for one in their second innings to bring the curtains down on an emotional series which got under way barely two weeks after the Mumbai terror attacks.

With the fog robbing away much of the opening session's play on most of the days, a draw appeared to be the likely result as both teams took the field on the last day.

With the Indians in no mood to take any risks, the final day's play turned out to be quite boring with Gautam Gambhir (97) and Yuvraj Singh (86) briefly providing the sparks before the belated Indian declaration came shortly after the lunch break.

Resuming on overnight 134 for four, India declared at 251 for seven wickets in the post-lunch session, a total they owed to the 153-run stand between Gambhir and Yuvraj.

It was the second successive Test series triumph for the Indians after beating Australia 2-0 in the four-match series in October-November.

But more than the result, the series will be remembered for reasons beyond cricket as it was played under the shadow of terrorism in the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage.I

With no possibility of an outright result, both the sides decided to stop the pointless exercise an hour before its schedule close.

To inject some life into the dull match, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni took his pads off and bowled the last over with VVS Laxman donning the wicketkeeper's gloves.

This was the first time that India drew under Dhoni's captaincy. It was a sharp contrast to the epic first Test in Chennai where India had successfully chased down 387 runs for a memorable win.

The 153-run stand between a sedate Gambhir and a sizzling Yuvraj was the lone highlight of India's second innings.

A thick fog that became a ritual in the match once again threw the schedule in complete disarray and play finally got underway at 1130 hrs with a one hour morning session.

That India would not go out of the way to press for a win was completely evident as the hosts batted on. By the time India declared following Gambhir's dismissal some 10 overs after lunch, the prospect of a result had long gone up in smoke.

The only point of interest seemed whether Gambhir could notch up his second century of the match which the pint-sized left-hander from Delhi could not, falling three runs shy of the milestone.

It still turned out to be a memorable match for the diminutive Delhi player, who had scored 179 in the first innings.