India lose key men in reply to England~~s 400

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:England seamer Matthew Hoggard today ripped through the Indian top order in a fiery three-over spell to put the hosts on the backfoot on the second day of the third and final Test, being played at the Wankhede stadium here.

Replying to Englands respectable first innings score of 400, India reached 89 for three by close of play, with Rahul Dravid, in his 100th Test match, remaining unbeaten on 37 and Yuvraj Singh on 32.

India, who lead the three-match series 1-0, need a further 311 runs to reach Englands first innings score with seven wickets in hand. The hosts also need a further 112 runs to save the follow on.

India, after surviving the short five-over spell before tea, saw the openers back in the hut as Matthew Hoggard charged up after the tea interval had first Sehwag fending off a short one to first slip when Owais Shah took a simple catch. Sehwag made 6 and India were 9 for one.

A little later, Hoggard got rid of the other opener Wasim Jaffer as he tried to leave a short one down the leg side only to glove it through to the wicketkeeper G Jones. Wasim Jaffer made 11 and India were in deep trouble at 24 for two.

Local boy Sachin Tendulkar then arrived to a tremendous welcome by the fans to the middle. Playing his record 132nd match, Sachin could not get going and clearly struggled against Hoggard and Anderson taking 13 balls to get of the mark.

Sachin, who has not scored a 50 after his record breaking 35th century against Sri Lanka at Delhi in December last year, looked troubled during his 34 minutes at the crease and while trying to drive James Anderson edged it to keeper Jones who gleefully accepted the chance to have India reeling at 28 for three.

Sachin made just 1 and was booed all the way back by his own home crowd.

Yuvraj Singh, then arrived at the crease to join his skipper and immediately showed the form he is in, flicking the ball to the midwicket fence to open his account. At the other end Rahul Dravid had to bring into play all his staying abilities as the English quicks bowled with a lot of fire and generating enough bounce to unsettle the Indians.

Dravid opened up only after the spinners were brought into action as the scoring rate also increased with their arrival.

Earlier, debutant Owais Shahs superb 88 and Flintoffs fourth successive half century saw England post a respectable score of 400 after resuming from their overnight score of 272 for three.

Indian pacers S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel bowled beautifully to restrict the Englishmen, getting the last seven wickets for 74 runs in spite of fielding lapses by the hosts which saw Flintoff being dropped off successive balls by Sehwag and Kumble off Munaf Patel, who was the pick of the bowlers despite taking only two wickets.

Sreesanth was the most successful bowler accounting for four scalps.

England who began the day on 272 for three, saw their stand-in captain Andrew Flintoff take the attack to the opposition starting of with a square driven boundary off Munaf Patel.

Patel who bowled with great pace and fire, however, was unlucky as Flintoff was let of twice in successive balls once by Sehwag at second slip and then by Anil Kumble at gully. The batsman was then on 29 and the team score 298 for three. Flintoff took full advantage of this, hooking Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel for huge sixes over fine-leg as Egland pressed on to amass a big score.

However, Sreesanth was introduced late in the morning session and he immediately struck getting Paul Collingwood with a ball that held its line and found the outside edge through to the keeper Dhoni.

Collingwood made 31 with three hits to the fence at the team's total of 326 for four.

In the next over, Kumble struck an important blow as Flintoff, after reaching his 50, tried to clear deep mid-wicket only to give a simple catch to Tendulkar. Flintoffs 85-ball 50 was studded with six boundaries and three sixes.

Sreesanth then got G Jones caught at gully for one to leave England at 333 for six.

Munaf Patel then struck in the fourth over after lunch trapping Shaun Udal in front of the wicket for 9 and then sending Matthew Hoggards off stump cartwheeling the very next ball to be on a hat-trick as England slumped to 356 for 8.

However, Owais Shah who had retired hurt due to cramps at tea on the first morning, returned after the fall of Collingwood continued to impress on his debut and carried the England side along with the tail adding 29 runs for the ninth wicket with James Anderson before a superb diving catch at first slip by Rahul Dravid of Harbhajan Singh saw him depart 12 short of a much deserved debut century.

Shahs 88 came in 163 balls and was laced with 13 boundaries and a six.

Harbhajan then got the last man Anderson caught at forward short leg for 15 after he added 15 runs to the total along with Monty Panesar to take England to 400.


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