English Summer - Vaughan puts England on top against India on Day 3

Published: Sunday, July 28, 2002, 0:41 [IST]
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London: Michael Vaughan's unbeaten 81 left England in a commanding position against India at Lord's on Saturday.At stumps on the third day of the first Test of four England was 184 for three in its second innings, an overall lead of 450 after it had bowled out India for 221.The strength of England's position is demonstrated by the fact that no team batting last has made more than the 406 for four India posted against West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1975-76 to win a Test.However, during the winter England set New Zealand 550 in Christchurch and the Kiwis managed 451 thanks mainly to a whirlwind double century from Nathan Astle.So it remains to be seen how many runs England will need for captain Nasser Hussain to be confident of declaring.Vaughan, who came in on a pair, faced 123 balls including eight fours. He received excellent support in an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 108 from John Crawley.Recalled after playing at Lord's in the opening Test of this summer's series against Sri Lanka, Crawley posted his second half century of the match to be 56 not out off 85 balls including three fours. But India did not help its cause by dropping both batsmen after Crawley helped England out of a minor hole at 76 for three.England started its second innings with a lead of 266 after Hussain declined to enforce the follow-on, a decision that looked all the more justified come the end of the day.Opener Mark Butcher (18) fell lbw sweeping against leg spinner Anil Kumble to leave England 32 for one. And India then broke through twice when England lost two wickets for 11 runs.First innings centurion Hussain (12) tried an extravagant cut over the slips off medium-pacer Ajit Agarkar but succeeded only in being caught by wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra.Then Graham Thorpe, who managed just four first time, was out for one after swotting a Kumble long-hop low to India captain Saurav Ganguly at short extra-cover.And Crawley should have been out for 11 but Wasim Jaffer at backward point dropped the catch off Ashish Nehra.There was more bad luck for Nehra when Vaughan, one ball after reaching fifty, edged the left-arm quick and Ratra, diving to his right, failed to cling on to the one-handed chance.It summed up India's day after it slumped in reply to England's first innings 487.Venkat Sai Laxman fought back with 43 not out but had no support.Matthew Hoggard led a disciplined pace bowling performance. It was all the more impressive as England was without injured first-choice quicks Darren Gough, Andrew Caddick and Alex Tudor. But Hoggard, Flintoff and recalled all-rounder Craig White all had experience of similar conditions in India during the winter.They each bowled well after India resumed on 130 for three, Hoggard dismissing Rahul Dravid (33 not out overnight) for a near four hour 46 when a lifting delivery was caught by Vaughan in the gully.India, 176 for five at lunch, lost Ganguly (5) four balls afterwards when he steered new ball bowler Andrew Flintoff to Vaughan in the gully.Then Ratra (1) gave England debutant fast bowler Simon Jones his first Test wicket when he was caught behind by opposing gloveman Alec Stewart. It was just reward for Jones, 23, the son of former England quick Jeff who also had Agarkar (two) well-taken at second slip by Flintoff.England already had the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, for a slow 16 made off 61 balls, caught by Stewart (in an England record 119th Test) cutting at White.

Copyright AFP 2001

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