Rahul Dravid ton delays England victory over India

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at The Oval
Fourth Test, The Oval (day four):
England 591-6 v India 300 & 129-3
Match scorecard
Graeme Swann
Swann again found the pitch to his liking as he removed India's openers

Rahul Dravid scored a defiant hundred against England to keep alive India's hopes of saving the fourth Test.

Dravid carried his bat to score 146 not out at The Oval as India recovered from their overnight position of 103-5 to post 300 all out in their first innings.

In the tourists' follow-on, Dravid was caught at short leg off Graeme Swann, who then bowled Virender Sehwag through the gate before James Anderson uprooted VVS Laxman's off stump.

But Sachin Tendulkar showed glimmers of his best form to reach 35 not out as India closed on 129-3, 162 runs behind England.

While India will look to the "Little Master" to bat them to safety on Monday, England will be hopeful that Swann can spin them to a 4-0 series whitewash.

Day four featured some rare toil for England in the field as India showed some of the fighting spirit that was so lacking in their displays so far in the series.

Inevitably it was Dravid who showed the way, expertly compiling his third hundred of the series and the 35th of his illustrious career.

After losing their first five wickets after tea on Saturday, India amassed 115 runs for the loss of just a single wicket in Sunday morning's session.

Captain MS Dhoni was the man to fall, caught behind off a thin edge to give Anderson his second wicket of the innings.

Amit Mishra bashed his way to 43 in a partnership of 81 with Dravid either side of the lunch interval.

Mishra smashed six fours and a six before he was superbly caught by Bell, diving full length at backward short leg and clinging on to a one-handed catch.

Dravid struck three fours off a Swann over to motor through the nineties, then brought up his hundred from 168 balls with a push past third slip for two.

Gautam Gambhir, coming in down the order after suffering concussion on day two, scored only 10 runs in 62 balls, before he was surprised by a short ball from Stuart Broad and ballooned a catch to Kevin Pietersen in the gully.

RP Singh frustrated England with a quickfire 25 but Tim Bresnan returned to dismiss him and Sreesanth, bringing an end to India's first innings shortly before tea.

Dravid, sent out to open the innings again in Gambhir's absence, had already successfully reviewed a bat-pad decision off Swann's bowling when he was given not out in similar circumstances.

This time England sent the decision upstairs and Dravid was given out by third umpire Steve Davis, despite no obvious deflection from bat to pad before Alastair Cook took the catch at short leg.

Sehwag managed to survive more than six balls for the first time in the series as he scored 33 relatively untroubled runs.

But he was bowled by a beauty from Swann which ripped out of the rough and hit middle stump half way up.

Laxman was dropped low down by Strauss after edging just past his stumps, but his luck ran out when a ball from Anderson moved away off the seam, speared past his outside edge and clattered in to off stump.

Tendulkar survived two close stumping chances to keep his wicket intact, raising the mouth-watering prospect of finally completing his 100th international century on the final day of the series.