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England tour of India - Cricket: Spinners hold key, India takes 231 lead

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Mohali: Keeping up its formidable reputation on home turf, India took avice-like grip on the first cricket Test against England as it notchedup a commanding 231-run first innings lead on the third day in Mohali onWednesday.Handsome contributions from the batting trio of Sachin Tendulkar,skipper Saurav Ganguly and vice-captain Rahul Dravid saw India scoring469 runs in its first innings in reply to England's 238.By the end of play, England had wiped out 34 runs from the deficit butwith two days' play left and the wicket showing clear signs ofdeteriorating, they could be in for some tough time ahead.In fact, with the kind of attack at their command, England was reallylucky that none of the Indian batsmen went on to score a big hundred onWednesday.Tendulkar was out for 88 while Dravid made 86, the top scores of Indianinnings after wicket-keeper batsman Deep Dasgupta had hit his maidenhundred on Tuesday.Tendulkar was associated in two crucial partnerships, raising 78 runsfor the fourth wicket with Dravid and another 80 for the fifth wicketwith Ganguly who missed his half-century by three runs.Runs came easily for India in the first two sessions with the home teamadding 181 to its overnight score of 262 for three. India, which was at419 for six a tea, lost the remaining four wickets in 13 overs as itsinnings came to an end one hour before the scheduled close.With the cushion of a huge lead behind it, India went for the kill rightfrom the word go when England came out to bat in its second innings.After Tinu Yohannan and Iqbal Siddiqui had bowled the customary new-ballspells, during which England openers Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcherhad a few close shaves when the ball narrowly missed the edges of theirbats, Ganguly promptly brought his spinners Anil Kumble and HarbhajanSingh on to bowl in tandem.Harbhajan started with six close-in fielders but the English batsmen didnot oblige any of them. The field was spread out more after a couple ofovers and Trescothick took his chances to sweep Kumble twice for foursin the bowler's third over.By close, Trescothick was batting on 16 and Butcher on 11. Earlier, theIndians scored at a decent rate to add 207 runs to their overnight totalin 68 overs on Wednesday. The English bowlers had to slog hard for thesecond day in succession.However, unlike Tuesday when they could manage just two wickets in theentire day, they did better on Wednesday by claiming the wickets of thebig three in the first two sessions, albeit at a price.Dravid was the first one to go, trapped leg before wicket by JamesOrmond in the seventh over of the morning after he had added only eightruns to his overnight 78. Dravid had batted for a total of five hoursduring which he faced 206 balls and hit ten fours.PTI

Extras:
Scorecard of Test 1 Day 3
Congrats! Dasgupta on first Test ton...

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