Tourists in control at Hove

Despite a middle-order collapse, India enjoyed another dominant day against Sussex in their tour opener, prising out five inexpensive wickets after Rahul Dravid had earlier declared the tourists’ innings closed on 388-7.

Resuming on 281-3 (although effectively four down: Dravid retired overnight with a calf strain), VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh began in solid, if unspectacular style. The pair, who are both fighting for the same middle order slot in the Test side, restrained from their usual flowing style in testing conditions, and by lunch India had progressed to 357 without further loss.

However, immediately after the interval Yuvraj was stumped for 31 when he attempted to dance down the pitch to offspinner Ollie Rayner, triggering the loss of three further wickets for 31 runs. Both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Anil Kumble fell for single figures before Laxman, five short of a hundred, gave Saqlain Mushtaq his third wicket of the innings, prompting a declaration from Dravid: with no further batsmen remaining, there was little point in dragging the innings on any further.

In reply, Sussex found the Indian seam attack difficult to stave off and while wickets did not fall in clusters, they never really looked like putting together a substantial partnership. Each of the pace bowlers ? RP Singh, Sreesanth and Ranadeb Bose ? snared one of the Sussex top four as the county champions struggled to 75-3. Only Michael Yardy, relieved from his England duties, offered much resistance and even he was perhaps fortunate to remain at the crease when he disputed that Yuvraj had claimed a legitimate catch at slip and stood his ground.

Eventually Yardy was dismissed, trapped leg before by Kumble after he had compiled a polished 53, to give the legspinner his second wicket of the day. Andrew Hodd and Robin Martin-Jenkins then pulled down the shutters for the evening and Sussex will resume tomorrow at 146-5.

Indians 388-7 declared (130.5 overs)
Dinesh Karthik 76, Gautam Gambhir 81, Rahul Dravid 57, VVS Laxman 95
Saqlain Mushtaq 3-71

Sussex 146-5 (47 overs)
Michael Yardy 53
Anil Kumble 2-28

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