London: England was all out for 515 in its first innings of the deciding Test against India at the Oval on Friday. After resuming on 336 for 2, England was reined in by a spirited Indian fight back and its innings was brought to a close shortly after tea after 155.4 overs.
England's hopes of setting a daunting first innings total in the deciding Test at the Oval was on Friday undermined by a middle order collapse as India launched a spirited fight back. Resuming on a commanding 336 for two with Michael Vaughan's sights set on a maiden double hundred on 182 overnight, the England middle order failed to withstand India's efforts on the second day.
Vaughan fell five runs short of the milestone, just missing it for the second time in three Test innings, while John Crawley, Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart all fell cheaply to leave England on 446 for seven and in danger of wasting its opening day efforts. Vaughan, who took his tally to 971 runs this year overnight, was also hoping he could get enough runs to become the first England batsman since Stewart in 1998 to reach 1,000 in a calendar year this morning. But instead he fell for 195 after edging the 29th ball of the morning from Zaheer Khan behind to the grateful hands of wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra having resumed his innings aggressively by hitting two boundaries off the opening over.
Crawley, who was unbeaten on 16 overnight, added just 10 before falling nine overs later when he pushed only half-forward and was given leg before to a straight Sanjay Bangar delivery he expected to swing. Captain Hussain was the next to fall, slashing wildly at another full-length Bangar delivery which Venkatsai Laxman took at second slip at the second attempt after juggling with the original chance. Laxman's successful catch forced his withdrawal from the play to receive ice treatment on his finger while captain Saurav Ganguly soon followed when he was stung on the back of his leg by a wasp.
The absence of Laxman at second slip proved crucial four overs later when Bangar could have claimed a third wicket when Stewart edged him low to that position but Virender Sehwag missed the low catch. Stewart, then on four, survived that close call and played his part in a productive 62-run partnership with Dominic Cork, which lifted hopes of England at least battling to reach 500. The introduction of Harbhajan Singh, though, after lunch earned India the breakthrough after he struck with his 10th delivery with Stewart pushing tentatively forward and getting the thinnest of edges behind to wicket-keeper Ratra for 23.
Harbhajan claimed his second wicket in 14 balls by then removing new batsman Alex Tudor, who pushed forward firmly but edged straight to Rahul Dravid who claimed the catch at slip after another juggle.