London: Centuries from England batsmen Michael Vaughan and John Crawley left India with a mountain to climb if it is to avoid defeat in the first Test at Lord's on Sunday.
At lunch on the fourth day India was 12 without loss, needing a further 556 to reach its huge victory target of 568 after England had earlier declared its second innings on 301 for six. No team batting last has made more to win a Test than the 406 for four India posted against West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1975-76. Wasim Jaffer was nine not out and Virender Sehwag three not out. But Wasim, then four, was lucky to survive the fourth ball of the innings when he edged Matthew Hoggard and Ashley Giles, moving in from fifth slip position just failed to cling on as he dived forward.
Both Crawley and Vaughan made exactly 100. Recalled Hampshire batsman Crawley was unbeaten, England captain Nasser Hussain declaring when he reached three figures. Craig White was six not out. It was Crawley's first Test hundred in four years, although this was only his fourth Test since he made 156 not out against Sri Lanka at The Oval in He faced 132 balls including eight fours. Vaughan, 81 not out overnight, produced a superb cover-driven four off Ashish Nehra in the second over of the day to go to 86.
But next ball India appealed for a catch behind low to wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra with England 190 for three. Vaughan stood his ground, unsure of whether the ball had carried. Zimbabwe umpire Russell Tiffin, at the bowler's end, consulted with South African colleague Rudi Koertzen. While there was no doubt that Vaughan had edged the ball, television pictures were inconclusive as to whether the catch had been taken cleanly. Vaughan brought up his third Test hundred with a hard run three off leg spinner Anil Kumble. He faced 140 balls including 11 fours. But next delivery, facing Nehra, Vaughan saw his flashing square drive was caught by Wasim at point.
England was now 213 for four, Vaughan and Crawley sharing a stand of 137 that left the home team in full control after India had it wobbling a touch at 78 for three on Saturday. Big hitting Andrew Flintoff was promoted up the order as England went in search of quick declaration runs but could manage only 11 before pulling left-arm quick Nehra straight to Sachin Tendulkar on the square leg boundary. Alec Stewart, in an England record 119th Test, then made a brisk 33 before he was stumped by Ratra off Kumble, the pick of the attack with three for 84.
England began Sunday on 184 for three with Crawley 56 not out, an already commanding lead of 450. Before play started a minute's silence was observed in memory of India vice-president Krishna Kant who died on Saturday. In another mark of respect, the national flags above the teams' dressing rooms in the pavilion were at half-mast.