India closes in on victory, England 166/4 at tea

Published: Monday, August 26, 2002, 2:27 [IST]
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Leeds: India was on the brink of squaring its series with England at one apiece at Headingley on Sunday, the hosts stuttering to 166 for four in its second innings at tea on the fourth day of the third Test.

England, following-on, still needed a further 189 to avoid an innings defeat after India had piled up a mammoth 628 for eight declared - the tourists highest total overseas and largest against England. At tea, captain Nasser Hussain was 47 not out off 59 balls having hit one six and 12 fours with Alec Stewart unbeaten on 12. But the experienced pair is the last of England's front-line batsmen. England started the second session on 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 for 34. Leg spinner Anil Kumble, whose stock delivery is far quicker than that of other bowlers of his type, drifted the ball in and the Kent opener, playing in only his second Test, was caught on the crease and was plumb lbw. Butcher and Hussain then took advantage of some loose deliveries from the India quicks. But on 42 left-hander Butcher drove loosely outside off-stump against medium pacer Sanjay Bangar and Rahul Dravid at first slip safely held the catch. Butcher had helped his captain add 40 but England, now 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 before twice pulling Bangar for four.

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, wicket-keeper Stewart was left on 78 not out, as England added nine runs to its overnight score to be 273 all out in its 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. It was the first time this series both India's leading slow bowlers had been in the same side. Matthew Hoggard eventually completed an 18-ball duck when he was caught by Sehwag at short-leg off Kumble.

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