Kumbles 300; tempers flare, India 99/3

Published: Thursday, December 20, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore: Andrew Flintoff dented India's batting with three vital wickets to leave England in control of the third and final Test in Bangalore on Thursday.The tourists, looking to square the series, scored 336 in their first innings and reduced India to 99 for three by close of an acrimonious second day's play at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.Stumps were drawn 11 overs early due to bad light with India still trailing by 237 runs on a brand new wicket that is already showing signs of wear.

Sachin Tendulkar kept India's hopes alive with an unbeaten 50, his 30th half century in Tests. Rahul Dravid was the other batsman at the crease on one.The final session was marred by a heated exchange between Indian batsman Shiv Das and England's spinner Ashley Giles after an appeal was disallowed, forcing the umpires to intervene.Umpires A V Jayaprakash of India and Asoka De Silva of Sri Lanka spoke to the two players and also summoned England captain Nasser Hussain during the drinks break to calm matters.

The tourists, already seething at Michael Vaughan's dismissal on Wednesday for handling the ball, were annoyed further when umpire De Silva erred in turning down an appeal for a catch against Das.Television replays showed the ball from Giles hit both the bat and pad before lobbing to wicket-keeper James Foster, but De Silva was unmoved. A wicket at that stage would have reduced India to 40 for three, but Das went on to add 66 for the third wicket with Tendulkar before being bowled by Flintoff soon after the last drinks break.

Earlier, Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble claimed his 300th wicket as England's innings folded 21 minutes after lunch.Kumble, who bowled 29 overs without success, finally reached the landmark on his home ground by trapping last man Matthew Hoggard lbw. The 31-year-old computer engineer, a veteran of 66 Tests, is only the fourth spinner to join the 18-strong club after Australia's Shane Warne, Sri Lanka's Muthiah Muralitharan and West Indian Lance Gibbs.

India's joy at Kumble's feat faded quickly as Flintoff removed opener Deep Dasgupta and Venkat Sai Laxman in his first five overs. Dasgupta had yet to get off the mark when he edged a rising delivery to Marcus Trescothick at first slip.Laxman hit Flintoff for two fours in his 12, before the big Lancashire all-rounder hit back by shattering the stumps with a swinging yorker.

Foster had earlier hit a career-best 48 to help the tourists recover after they were struggling at 219 for six in the final session on the first day.Foster, playing only his third Test, held his end up for three hours and 19 minutes to surpass his previous best of 40 in the second Test at Ahmedabad last week.

Foster was finally caught behind soon after lunch, giving seamer Javagal Srinath his fourth wicket of the innings. Giles, who made 28 in a 63-run stand for the eighth wicket with Foster, was lbw to Sarandeep Singh in the next over.The off spinner, a last-minute inclusion for the Test, finished with three for 54 even as his senior partner Harbhajan Singh went wicketless.

England, which started the day on 255 for six, lost just one batsman in the morning session to go to lunch on 325 for seven. Foster and Craig White took their overnight seventh-wicket stand of 36 to 52, making light of the second new ball taken by India at the start of play.White, who hit a maiden century in the Ahemdabad Test, made 39 when he fended at a short ball from Srinath to Das at forward short-leg.

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