Hussain and Stewart defy India~~s victory charge
Published: Monday, August 26, 2002, 5:00 [IST]
Scorecard of Test 3 Day 4
Leeds: England captain Nasser Hussain and veteran keeper-batsman Alec Stewart staged a defiant rearguard action that kept India at bay on the fourth day of the third Test at Headingley on Saturday. At stumps England, following-on, was 239 for four with Hussain 90 not out, having batted for just short of four hours, facing 171 balls and hitting one six and 15 fours. Stewart, England's most capped player, was 40 not out off 112 balls with six fours.With Hussain, he put on 91 in a stand lasting two and-a-half hours and then survived the final four overs of the day against the new ball. However, England still needs a further 116 to avoid an innings defeat and prevent India leveling the four match series at one apiece after the tourists had piled up 628 for eight declared in their first innings. That was India's highest total against England and largest on foreign soil. And when England started the final session on 166 for four, still 189 behind, with Hussain 47 not out and Stewart 12 not out, there was a chance India could wrap up victory with more than a day to spare. But crucially, to the last ball before tea, Hussain was dropped by teenage wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel after gloving leg spinner Anil Kumble. After the resumption Madras-born Hussain made the tourists pay for the mistake as he brought up his 50 with a cut four off Kumble and later swept him for another boundary. Meanwhile, Stewart twice turned Kumble off his legs for four. But India restored control through left-arm quick Zaheer Khan, who bowled six consecutive maidens to Hussain. Hussain only managed five singles in 45 balls but, more importantly from England's perspective, he was still in the middle. At lunch England was 56 for one with Robert Key 29 not out and Mark Butcher 11 not out. But four overs after the break, and 20 runs later, England lost Key, in his second Test for 34, lbw to Kumble. Then left-hander Butcher (42) drove loosely outside off stump against medium-pacer Sanjay Bangar to Rahul Dravid. Butcher had helped his captain add 40 but England, 116 for three, was still 239 behind. Hussain continued to attack where possible, advancing down the pitch and lofting off spinner Harbhajan Singh for six over long-on. But John Crawley (12) then lobbed an easy catch off Bangar to Virender Sehwag in the covers, although the fielder needed two grabs at it before England was 148 for four. Openers Key and Michael Vaughan had started the second innings positively. But Vaughan, who had made two successive Test hundreds coming into this match on his home ground, soon fell lbw for 15 to medium-pacer Ajit Agarkar. Earlier, Stewart was left on 78 not out, as England added nine runs to its overnight score to be 273 all out in their first innings. He batted for 11 minutes short of three hours in an innings which saw him face 120 balls including 11 boundaries. Harbhajan, who did the bulk of the damage Saturday, finished with figures of three for 40 from 18 overs. Meanwhile Kumble, back in the side after the calf injury which kept him out of the drawn second Test at Trent Bridge, had three for 93 from 33 when he dismissed last man Matthew Hoggard for a duck. It was for the first time in this series that both of India's leading slow bowlers had been in the same side. India has not claimed a Test series victory outside of the sub-continent in 16 years but remain favourites to win this match and make next month's final Test at The Oval a 'live' contest.