Chennai: A brilliant unbroken partnership of 129 between Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood extended England lead to 247 at Chidambram stadium at Chennai on Saturday. Strauss who scored century in the first innings is poised to score another one in the second innings.
Strauss (73) and Collingwood (60), who came together at the crease when England were reeling at 43/3, took the England lead to 247 runs and put India under pressure. Strauss finished the third day at the Chepauk Stadium unbeaten on 73 having led the tourists to 172 for three. It kept him on course to become only the 10th England player in history to hit centuries in both innings of a Test following the crucial 123 he recorded in the first innings.
The tourists' troubles began with Alastair Cook edging Ishant Sharma behind in the ninth over before India's spinners struck in successive overs.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra removed Ian Bell, who deflected a turning delivery to short leg, and Yuvraj Singh won an lbw appeal against Pietersen with his first delivery.
Strauss also received a reprieve during a testing spell from Mishra when he edged behind on 15, but MS Dhoni was unable to take the catch standing up to the stumps.
Having survived that high pressure spell, Strauss and Paul Collingwood, who finished unbeaten on 60, combined in an unbroken 129-run partnership which put England on course for a match-winning lead.
England had begun the day hoping to wrap up India's innings quickly but were instead frustrated for 16 overs while captain MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh forged a crucial 76-run stand.
Dhoni was given one reprieve on his way to a determined half-century when he edged left-arm spinner Monty Panesar just short of Bell at short leg on 38.
But Panesar did finally end the partnership when Harbhajan, who had contributed a useful 40 to India's cause, steered a turning delivery off his legs and was caught by Ian Bell diving forward at short leg.
Three overs later new batsman Zaheer Khan was also dismissed with Flintoff winning an lbw appeal with his third delivery back in the attack.
India still had hopes of reducing the deficit further while Dhoni was at the crease and he brought up a deserved half-century in the next over with a single off his legs.
Mindful of the need for as many runs as possible, Dhoni attempted to hit out in Panesar's next over and was caught in the deep by rival captain Pietersen, which appeared to signal the end of India's resistance.
Instead, Amit Mishra teamed up with Sharma in a defiant last wicket partnership which survived the final four overs until lunch, only for Flintoff to end the innings quickly after the lunch break.