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    2nd Test: India 229/3, lead WI by 240 runs

    Barbados: VVS Laxman (72) and Rahul Dravid (55) hit fifties as India strengthened their position at stumps on the fourth day by finishing at 229/3, leading West Indies by 240, in the second Test at the Kensington Oval on Friday.

    Laxman made his second half-century of the match, while Dravid too played a sedate knock to provide India solidarity.

    Laxman and Virat Kohli (26) were at the crease when the stumps were drawn on day four.

    Earlier, India started the day's play from 23/0 after a fresh spell of morning showers delayed the proceeding for an hour.

    The visitors lost the wicket of Murali Vijay (3) in the second over of the day when the right-hander lunged forward to Ravi Rampaul's well-pitched delivery that kissed the outside edge of his bat before going into Carlton Baugh's gloves.

    Mukund and Dravid started to blossom, following a circumspect start against a West Indies attack which continued to exploit the lively Kensington Oval pitch.

    Mukund drove West Indies captain Darren Sammy through mid-off for his second boundary to get into his stride, and Dravid steered a delivery from Fidel Edwards between third slip and the gully for his first four.

    West Indies' skipper Darren Sammy was close to getting Dravid out for the second time in the match when the latter flicked a delivery which was caught by Adrian Barath at square leg.

    Dravid stood his ground as there was enough doubt whether the catch was taken cleanly. The on-field umpires gave the batsman the benefit of doubt after a lengthy consultation with the third umpire.

    India reached 62/1 at lunch, leading West Indies by 73 runs, with Mukund (27) and Dravid (18) still at the crease.

    Both batsmen started cautiously after lunch and took the overall lead to 100.

    And though Mukund survived edging a few rising deliveries from Edwards, he finally ran out of his luck and edged a snorter from the fast bowler into Baugh's hands. The southpaw made a patient 48 off 81 deliveries.

    Meanwhile, Dravid kept his silky touch going and hit a few crisp shots both off the front and the back foot.

    Incoming batsman VVS Laxman, after surviving few pacy deliveries by Edwards, hit a brilliant pull shot off the fast bowler for a boundary.

    India took their lead past the 100-run mark as Dravid and Laxman stood firmly on the wicket in the session after lunch.

    India scored 81 runs in the afternoon session, loosing the wicket of Mukund in the process. Dravid (48) and Laxman (26) were on the crease when tea was taken.

    The visitors' two most decorated batsmen drew upon their vast experience to consolidate their side's position. They shared a 65-run third-wicket stand before Dravid poked a wide delivery from Edwards' into the hands of Baugh, who pouched his third catch of the innings. The classy Indian batsman scored a patient 55 off 171 balls.

    Virat Kohli was peppered by short-pitched stuff by Edwards. And though the young Indian batsman tried to release the nerves by pulling a six in the mid-wicket region, he looked fidgety before and after playing that shot.

    But he, along with Laxman, ensured that the visitors didn't lose any more wickets on the day.

    (With agency inputs)

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