LONDON (AFP) - Rahul Dravid's third century of the series could not prevent India following-on in the fourth and final Test at The Oval here on Sunday as England went in search of a whitewash.

Dravid carried his bat for a superb 146 not out in an India first innings total of 300 -- the first time this series the tourists had reached the benchmark score.

But that still left them 92 shy of avoiding the follow-on.

Although not an opener by preference, Dravid kept his pads on to be seven not out at tea on the fourth day.

The dashing Virender Sehwag, who'd previously managed just eight runs in eight balls this series, including a king pair in the third Test at Edgbaston, was 16 not out.

India still needed a further 266 runs to make England bat again after the hosts made 591 for six declared in a first innings featuring Ian Bell's Test-best 235 and Kevin Pietersen's 175.

India started the second session on 218 for six, with Dravid 109 not out and Amit Mishra, who'd driven off-spinner Graeme Swann for six off the last ball before lunch, 38 not out.

However, Mishra added just five more runs before he was brilliantly caught by a diving Bell at an unusually positioned short backward square leg off a pull shot against a looping Tim Bresnan delivery.

Dravid thrashed part-time spinner Pietersen for four and it was no surprise England took the new ball as soon as they could, with India 253 for seven off 80 overs.

It led to a breakthrough when left-hander Gautam Gambhir, normally an opener but batting down the order after suffering concussion while fielding on Friday, fended at Stuart Broad and was caught in the gully by Pietersen.

RP Singh thrashed his way to 25 featuring five fours before he was well-held by third slip James Anderson off Bresnan to leave India 300 for nine.

And two balls later India were all out when Shanthakumaran Sreesanth exited for nought when he drove at Bresnan, who took three for 54, and was caught at short extra-cover by Eoin Morgan.

Dravid -- the only India batsman to score a century this series -- was undefeated after six hours and 19 minutes at the crease, having faced 266 balls with 20 fours.

He was only the third Indian after Sunil Gavaskar and Sehwag to carry his bat in a Test innings.

Dravid's hundred was the second time this series he made a century while opening in the absence of Gambhir.

He had previously made 117, when Gambhir missed the second Test at Trent Bridge with an elbow injury, following his 103 not out at Lord's.

Dravid's 35th Test century took him one in front of childhood hero Gavaskar's mark of 34 and fourth in the all-time list behind India team-mate Sachin Tendulkar (51), South Africa's Jacques Kallis (40) and Australia's Ricky Ponting (39).

India resumed Sunday in the desperate position of 103 for five after a top-order collapse against Anderson and Swann.

Dravid was 57 not out and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni five not out.

Dhoni, who never looked settled, was out for 17 when he pushed tentatively at an Anderson outswinger and was caught behind.

Dravid sped through the 90s with three fours in four Swann balls, a sweep and a late cut preceding his elegant advance down the pitch to create a half-volley he clipped through mid-wicket.

A late cut two off Bresnan then saw Dravid to his hundred.



Source: dreamcricket.com

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