History beckons India in Chennai

Published: Sunday, December 14, 2008, 17:13 [IST]
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Chennai: Set a daunting target of 387 for victory, which would be the fourth-highest fourth innings successful run chase in history, India India ended Day 4 on 131/1 still needing 256 runs in the first Test against England in Chennai

India's explosive start was spearheaded by Sehwag, who raced to a blistering half-century off only 32 balls to narrowly miss equalling the Indian record of 30 deliveries held by Kapil Dev. India's electric start to their second innings lifted their hopes of hitting the highest-ever fourth innings total on this ground, which currently stands at India's 347 in the tied Test against Australia in 1986.

Sehwag sent the English on a leather hunt by blasting four sixes and eleven fours in his knock of 83 that came off 68 balls after blazing to a half-century off just 32 balls.

Sehwag's dismissal brought Rahul Dravid at the crease joining Gautam Gambhir who is batting on 29 with three fours.

Earlier, England declared their second innings at 311/9 at the fall of Matt Prior (33) who was caught in the covers by Sehwag off Ishant Sharma.

Before tea, Zaheer Khan took three wickets in quick succession to reduce England to 301/8.

Zaheer clean bowled Steve Harmison (1) and Graeme Swann (7) in successive overs to rattle England.

prior to this, Ishant Sharma was rewarded for his toil on the turf with the wicket of Andrew Flintoff. The batsman was caught behind the stumps for a score of 2 runs.

Harbhajan Singh had earlier finally made inroads into the Strauss-Collingwood duo as he claimed the prized scalp of the former. Strauss departed after scoring 108 runs, an effort that placed the team in a very strong position on the penultimate day of the Test.

Paul Collingwood had too proved his worth with the willow as he crafted a fine century that was iced with some brilliant stroke play at Chennai.

A leviathan batting partnership between Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood set the stage for England as the total read 244/3 at lunch on Day 4 of the first Test match. Indian bowlers could not muster special deliveries to break the well set combo.

The morning had belonged to the England team as they consolidated on the fortunes of centurion Andrew Strauss and took the lead beyond the 300 run-mark amid some brilliant shot-making by the visitors. Paul Collingwood provided the right support from the other end and the Indian bowlers looked helpless in face of a stoic batting performance.

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