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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2006, 12:27 GMT
England crumble to India spinners
Second Test, Mohali, day four (close):
England 300 & 112-5 v India 338

Team-mates congratulate Anil Kumble
Kumble has eight wickets in the match so far
England face a Herculean task on the final day of the second Test after reaching 112-5, just 74 ahead of India.

Ian Bell had been the one batsman to defy some devilish Indian spin before he edged behind for 57, leaving skipper Andrew Flintoff unbeaten on 16.

Mahendra Dhoni fell early on but Rahul Dravid (95) and Irfan Pathan (52) shared 76 in India's total of 338.

Flintoff (4-76) ousted both but Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble made useful runs to help build a lead of 38.

That demoralised the tourists, who began the day 151 in front and with high hopes of claiming the final six wickets without relinquishing their lead.

When they finally got a chance to bat, England's openers were unable to assert themselves, and Alastair Cook experienced his first Test failure when he edged a wide one from Patel in the sixth over.

Harbhajan came into the attack after only six overs, but Kumble, who had to wait until the 18th over for a bowl, struck next.

We're pretty confident we can chase whatever they set us
Rahul Dravid

He enticed Andrew Strauss to sweep from wide of the off-stump and the shot went into boot and pad before looping up for a simple catch, the dismissal confirmed by the third umpire.

After his first-innings 5-76, Kumble has eight wickets in the match so far.

Kevin Pietersen was the victim of a bad decision when he tried to sweep Harbhajan and the ball hit his arm and flew to slip.

Pietersen could receive a fine after expressing his dissatisfaction on the way off the field.

Bell looked the most assured from the outset, defensively sound, having pushed down the ground to get off the mark with a boundary.

He was reprieved on 40 when he appeared to have been pinned on the crease bang in front by Kumble, and he tested the spinner's patience by cracking the next delivery for four.

Dravid atoned for an earlier drop with a regulation slip catch after Collingwood prodded forward dubiously.

Flintoff had a torrid introduction, beaten by a series of perfect leg-breaks from Kumble reminiscent of Shane Warne at his best.

England's talismanic skipper needed all his resolve to reach stumps, giving his team some chance of salvaging the match.

The day had begun with an entertaining morning session in which 120 runs were scored for the loss of three wickets.

There were farcical scenes before the action could start, when the match ball was mislaid by the umpires, and it emerged that it had been collected inadvertently from the outfield by a member of the India backroom staff.

Bright sunshine had given way rapidly to cloud and after only three deliveries the batsmen accepted an offer for bad light.

Kevin Pietersen congratulates Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff produced another whole-hearted effort for his team

After a 20-minute delay, Dhoni wasted little time in despatching his first ball of the day from Steve Harmison to the boundary with an extravagant cover drive.

England's giant paceman continued his impressive rhythm of Saturday, however, and more pace and bounce accounted for Dhoni, copying Virender Sehwag's dismissal of day three.

Harmison should have had a third caught-behind dismissal but the appeal for an edge from Pathan was muted and may have determined umpire Simon Taufel's decision of not out.

Monty Panesar was introduced after an hour and a quarter but Pathan refused to let the spinner settle, launching him over mid-off for six.

Flintoff decided to remove Panesar from the attack at this point, but his replacement, Liam Plunkett, fared even worse as Dravid hammered him for three fours in his first over.

The India captain showed visible anger when he fell short of a 23rd Test century, slamming his bat against the offending timbers.

In the afternoon session, Hoggard took the new ball when it first became available but was soon driven to the boundary as Harbhajan found his range.

He was given a life on 30 when sub Matt Prior inexplicably dropped a simple chance at third man.

Harbhajan finally pushed forward and edged behind, and Geraint Jones then took his fourth catch of the innings when Piyush Chawla fished at a wide one from Hoggard.

The unorthodox number 11 Munaf Patel backed away to slice Harmison for four and get off the mark, before swiping Hoggard over the sightscreen for six.

Kumble was the man to fall, however, beaten by a yorker from Plunkett.

Interview: England batsman Ian Bell



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