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England pass 450 in fifth India Test

Press Association logoPress Association 17/12/2016 David Clough

Debutant Liam Dawson hit a gritty half-century as he and Adil Rashid helped England past 450 on Saturday's second day of the fifth Test against India.

Dawson (55no), hit on the helmet by the second ball he faced from Ishant Sharma, displayed the battling qualities - and sound technique - for which he was chosen as a spinning allrounder.

He and Rashid (60) shared a much-needed eighth-wicket stand of 108 in England's tea-time 8-452.

The tourists had been in danger of frittering away their advantage after faltering from 4-282 at the start of play for four to 7-321 - including the wicket of centurion Moeen Ali (146) at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium.

But No.8 Dawson and No.9 Rashid dealt with the pressure, digging in before lunch to frustrate the hosts and then gradually upping the tempo.

Dawson's share brought him a 121-ball 50, with four fours, completed soon after Rashid's dismissal - caught behind trying to force Umesh Yadav away off the back foot one run short of equalling his career-best.

The Yorkshireman had begun cautiously, with just eight runs from 55 deliveries at lunch, but began to find the gaps off the spinners with his trademark wristy flicks and back cuts to reach his 141-ball half-century with a cover drive for his seventh boundary.

Ali was earlier able to add only 26 to his overnight total, and Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler mustered just 11 between them.

England's eventful morning began with Stokes' dismissal in the first over, pushing forward with his bat well away from his pad and edging to Ravi Ashwin.

Buttler never looked comfortable before playing across a straight one from Ishant to go lbw.

Dawson was then given his early welcome to Test cricket when he ducked into an Ishant bouncer, and immediately needed a new helmet.

Ishant and Umesh tested both batsmen with the short ball.

Ali's resolve was to hook and pull, and Dawson's to duck and weave - and it was the senior batsman's policy which backfired when he mistimed one into the hands of deep midwicket off Umesh.

Ali had batted for more than six hours, since coming in at 2-21 the previous morning, and hit 13 fours and a six from 262 balls.

England, however, still needed more to be sure of halting the India juggernaut which had already sealed the series with an unassailable 3-0 lead going into this final Test - and it came in an unlikely but sterling partnership.

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