Pathan, Kumble strike; keep India in game

Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Anil Kumble and Irfan Pathan struck two vital blows as India fought back on the fourth day of the third and final Test against England here today.

England, in a must-win situation to square the series, resumed at their overnight score of 31 for two after taking a 121-run first innings lead and debutant batsman Owais Shah continued from where he left off in the first innings, guiding England to 85 for four wickets at lunch.

England are now 206 runs ahead with six wickets in hand. Shah is on 38 and Paul Collingwood on six at the crease.

In the morning, nightwatchman Shaun Udal gave gritty support to Shah as the two batsmen went about setting up a good foundation for the tourists, to be able to set India a challenging target for victory.

Both the batsmen played cautiously as they survived the first hour with any undue trouble, taking their singles to swell the total.

Udal also gained in confidence as he hit S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel for a couple of crisp boundaries.

However, Dravid made a bowling change from the pavilion end after 11 overs and that seemed to click, as Pathan who was brought on struck in his second over itself, getting Udal to go for a drive to a ball outside the off stump and the edge was taken low down at the second slip by Wasim Jaffer.

Kevin Pietersen, the next man in, looked uncomfortable against Kumble and after an uneasy stay of 29 minutes, tried to turn the leg-spinner to the onside but a leading edge saw the ball fly to the bowler, who dived across the stumps to bring up a great catch. Pietersen made just seven.

Shah then found the support in Paul Collingwood, who survived some close moments against Munaf Patel, before the duo took England safely to lunch.

Indian captain Rahul Dravid did not use off-spinner Harbhajan Singh at all in the morning session and preferred to bowl pacers in the beginning. Kumble was the only spinner at work this morning.

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