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Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

India v England: 2nd Test day four as it happened

SECOND TEST, Mohali (day four, close):
India 453 & 134-4 v England 302

Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh kept India in control of the second Test despite England's impressive bowling display on day four in Mohali.

Following a fog-delayed start, England resumed on 282-6 in reply to India's 453 but they were bowled out for 302 as Harbhajan Sign finished with 4-68.

The tourists fought back impressively, reducing India to 44-3 and then 80-4.

But Gambhir (39no) and the explosive Yuvraj (44no) then guided the hosts to 134-4 at the close, a lead of 285.


By Mark Mitchener

e-mail (with 'For Mark Mitchener' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)


1130: Well, that's it for the day, with the official close of play time having passed, although the TMS crew are a little surprised India didn't have a thrash for another couple of overs - as they lead by 285, and will probably now have to bat on tomorrow morning.

Once again, play is due to start at 0330 GMT (fog permitting!) tomorrow morning - I'll be here then, bright and early, so I hope you'll join me to see how the final day of the series unfolds. Thanks again for all your e-mails (especially those about cricket in strange places around the world) and enjoy the rest of the day.

Jonathan Agnew
"The Indian tactics have been disappointing today - they could have set something up for tomorrow, and could easily have had a couple more overs tonight. They may have prevented any chance of England winning the game, but only possibly at the cost of winning it themselves"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

Bad light stops play
1123 - BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY - Ind 134-4 (50 overs)
Even bowling coach Ottis Gibson isn't smiling now as the England support staff look on, as Broad sends down a rather tame maiden to Yuvraj. Is he being tentative as there are doubts about the light? Well, at the end of the over, the umpires hold up their light meters, offer the light - and the batsmen take it!

Text in your views on 81111
"Monty is awful, surely we have to consider someone else who appears to learn from the game and grow as a player. Youthful exuberance can only get you so far, and I think this is it. I fear that he's being used more as a role-model than an actual match-winner"
Tim, overlooking the Tyne, via text on 81111

1117 - Ind 134-4 (49 overs)
A handsome cover drive off Swann - who's changed ends to replace Monty - gives Yuvraj three and takes him to 41. Gambhir steers a single through the covers, Yuvraj sweeps firmly with a single to keep the strike.

"Re cricket in strange countries, I can heartily recommend a book called 'Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take On The World' by the late Harry Thompson - former producer of Have I Got News For You. Thompson's team of very poor cricketers aim to play the game in all seven continents - including Antarctica. It is both extremely funny and very poignant, because Thompson died at the age of 45 soon after the book was published"
Tim Haveron Jones, Maidenhead, in the TMS inbox
[I can second that recommendation as I've read it too - MM]

1112 - Ind 129-4 (48 overs)
KP tries to stem the tide by recalling Broad in place of Swann. Gambhir shoulders arms to the first three balls, then Broad sends down a couple of wides and the singles continue to flow.

"Can the team advise what England's highest successful run chase is in India, just out of interest?"
Mike Neale in the TMS inbox
[Paul "Stat Master" Grunill tells me it's 208-4, in Delhi on Christmas Day 1972. Captain Tony Lewis saw them home - MM]
INTERNET LINK: India v England scorecard (Delhi, 1972), from Cricinfo

1105 - Ind 125-4 (47 overs)
Yuvraj goes aerial, hoisting Monty high into the crowd at deep mid-wicket for six! Monty shifts to bowling round the wicket ("which he doesn't often do to left-handers", Simon Hughes notes on TMS), and Yuvraj cuts him for two before nudging a single past gully. Gambhir nudges another, and Yuvraj belts another four - he has 34 from 28 balls, and will catch Gambhir (43) up soon.

"I recall a Thanksgiving in Japan when a group of us expats cycled to a remote mountain village and staged a game of American football. The mayor came out and gave a speech, and then we played. But since many of the expats were Commonwealth types, it seemed that some of the players had as little idea of the rules as did the bemused locals. Following an hour or so of chaotic play, we retired to a nearby house for turkey - never easy to come by in Japan - and sumo on TV"
JJ Gass in the TMS inbox

1100 - Ind 111-4 (46 overs)
Gambhir turns Swann off his legs for a single, then Yuvraj savagely straight-drives him for four. Yuvi then sweeps, hoping for four, but Monty on the square leg boundary dives full-length to turn four into two. Well fielded, Monty! Yuvraj rotates the strike with a single, then Gambhir edges agonisingly past Cook at silly point.

"I lived in Beijing for a year over 20 years ago and a Boxing Day tradition was for the British Embassy to hold a cricket match on the frozen lake at the summer palace in the north of the capital. The track gave a lot of help to the batsmen, come to that the outfield gave a lot of help to the batsmen. The locals were suitably bemused"
Murph, Isleworth, in the TMS inbox

1056 - Ind 103-4 (45 overs)
Gambhir thinks about attempting a savage cut at Monty, but changes his mind at the last minute. He has to be careful as Monty is getting some turn, but tickles a two to third man and then pushes a quick single to Swann at deep mid-on. Yuvraj thumps a four through extra cover to bring up three figures for his side.

Text in your views on 81111
"Should Harry Hill be umpire for this Test? Then KP and Yuvi could have a FIGHT!"
Josh in Castleford, via text on 81111
[Non-UK residents may not be aware of Harry Hill's "TV Burp" programme, which each week involves two diametrically opposed viewpoints being settled in the studio by a mock comedy "fight" - MM]

1052 - Ind 96-4 (44 overs)
Spin from both ends as Swann finally replaces Flintoff, and Gambhir prods him for an easy single. Swann has three close catchers for the left-handed Yuvraj (they think about a fourth but decide against it) and he gets one to turn past Yuvi's outside edge. Simon Mann on TMS estimates we may get about another half-hour's play before the light fades.

Matthew Hoggard
"With ref to 0802 question. Has enough been made of the strange and seemingly permanent sacking of Hoggard? He has been our best bowler for so long and we seem to have unfairly repaid his commitment. Is he not popular with someone important? BTW, I don't think his interview on TMS with Aggers last summer did him many favours. I think we should be told!"
Ben in the TMS inbox

1048 - Ind 95-4 (43 overs)
Yuvraj steers Monty for a single wide of mid-on. Gambhir gives him the charge but can only push a single through the covers.

"It's a myth that 666 [see 0938 entry] in the number of the beast. The first known number was used in the third century and the number used there was 616. So who has that?"
Nigel Barrett in the TMS inbox [616 is... James Kirtley! MM]

1045 - Ind 93-4 (42 overs)
It looks for a moment like Swann's going to bowl... but it's Flintoff to continue. A single from Gambhir brings Yuvraj back into the firing line... he steers a single through the gap to the man on the point boundary. Gambhir blocks out the rest of the over.

Text in your views on 81111
"I played for Brazil at the South American cricket champs in Peru. My international batting average is actually better than last season's village one (14 and 12 respectively). I bowl, obviously"
Seb, London, via text on 81111

1037 - Ind 91-4 (41 overs)
Gambhir clips Monty for a single off his legs, Yuvraj sees off the rest of the over and Umpire Rauf is keeping an eye on things as Yuvi and KP are still chirping away.

1034 - Ind 90-4 (40 overs)
There is clearly a spring in Flintoff's step as he bounds in to Gambhir, although he strays with a wide. A single to fine leg brings Yuvraj on strike with one delivery left, will Flintoff bounce him? No, it's wide of off stump, but England don't miss the opportunity for some more backchat with Yuvi. Time for a drinks break.

"I played a few games when I lived in Paris. The team played at Chateau de Thoiry, which was also a wildlife park (a la Longleat). I reckon the French walking past thought we were just one more species of wildlife on display"
Alistair Robinson in the TMS inbox

1028 - Ind 88-4 (39 overs)
Now, this COULD be tasty - just the excitement we've needed for the last hour. England are clearly riled by the ongoing Pietersen-Yuvraj feud - Flintoff approaches the Indian batsman to exchange some choice words before he even reaches the crease, and KP inserts himself at leg slip to be in the perfect position to sledge him. Yuvraj plays defensively at his first ball, but it sails over Monty's head for four! His third ball sees a streaky edge shoot past slip for four.

Wicket falls
1025 - WICKET - Laxman run out (Flintoff/Prior) 15 - Ind 80-4 (38.1 overs)
Gambhir takes another fresh guard against Monty - he pushes into the covers but there's a mix-up between the wickets as Flintoff fields, lobs it in to Prior and Laxman is well short of his ground at the striker's end. Time for Yuvraj!

"Robert Key? 'A flat-footed weak attack bully who isn't and has never been Test class'? [see Adam's comment at 0902] Here was me thinking your previous correspondent was talking about Ian Bell who has been dining out on a few big scores against Bangladesh for over three years"
The Kibworth Bard, trying hard to look busy in the office, Nottingham, in the TMS inbox

1022 - Ind 80-3 (38 overs)
As Aggers and Ravi on TMS ponder the next instalment of the mini-duel between KP and Yuvraj which has taken place on this tour, Flintoff keeps it tight against Gambhir who steers a single to the cover boundary. Fred then bowls a no-ball to Laxman, but it's still pretty tame stuff here.

"My local team is going to Lithuania next summer on a stag cricketing tour. Believe it or not there are three teams! Although apparently they're the worst team in Europe having lost to Latvia last summer. They play a kind of Twenty20 cricket with vodka... fortunately I'm told there are plenty of attractive reasons for getting out there"
Robert Marks in the TMS inbox

1018 - Ind 78-3 (37 overs)
Monty spins one past Laxman's outside edge, but then VVS blasts a looser delivery through the covers for four to take his score to 15. ("First boundary for 12 overs", informs Bill Frindall on TMS).

1014 - Ind 74-3 (36 overs)
A double change in the attack as Flintoff replaces Anderson, while Ravi Shastri on TMS defends India's patient approach - pointing out that England are bowling too wide to expect India to take risks. A single from Laxman, a two from Gambhir and even Aggers admits "it's getting a bit tedious at the moment".

A sandwich
An Imperial Star Destroyer
"Is that picture of a sandwich supposed to look like a Star Destroyer from Star Wars? Or is it just my inherent geekiness coming to the fore?"
Adam, Norwich, in the TMS inbox
[If I had a pound for every time that comparison was pointed out to me, I'd probably have enough cash to buy a Star Destroyer of my own, which I would use to subjugate the cricket world and force countries to improve their over-rates - MM]

Monty Panesar
1009 - Ind 71-3 (35 overs)
It's Monty time - Laxman tries to belt Panesar's first ball through the covers but it strikes the helmeted Bell at silly point. Laxman eventually works him for a single to leg, just one off the over.
Download our masks of Monty, Tendulkar and other cricket stars

"So, what is more tedious this morning? The cricket, or my workplace? Only a few people in, most of them coughing and spluttering, wearing ill-advised 'casual' wear. I include myself in that description"
Carole in Maidenhead in the TMS inbox

1006 - Ind 70-3 (34 overs)
Still plenty of chanting, excitement and flag-waving from both India's and England's fans at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium as Anderson sends down his eighth maiden over, although personally I feel the game is looking more and more destined to finish as a draw unless one or both sides try to take this game by the scruff of the neck. KP signals Monty P to warm up, that should keep the England fans on their feet!

"JD [0840], have you ever had the delight of playing five-a-side cricket on a crowded breach in France? Mark out an obnoxiously large playing area and watch the masses gather. I was bowling a vintage spell until a local turned up to bat and it all went to pot as I was laughing hysterically at his tiny trunks"
JP in Retford, Notts, in the TMS inbox

1001 - Ind 70-3 (33 overs)
Laxman nudges Swann for a single, Swanny is rapidly through his overs and is getting a bit of turn but India appear to be in no danger as a single takes Gambhir to 30.

"You will be pleased to hear that over in Phnom Penh, Cambodia we hold occasional 'Ashes' series between British and Australian expats living here. Needless to say the Aussies used to win until us Brits opened it up to our Sri Lanka and Indian cousins, well they hate the Aussies as well"
Richard, Phnom Penh, in the TMS inbox

0958 - Ind 68-3 (32 overs)
Laxman swishes at Anderson and it sails down the leg side for four byes! Then, Laxman is hit on the pad and they trot through for a leg bye. The game is drifting away from England.

Text in your views on 81111
"I'll be 666 [see Gus Fraser's comment at 0938] as it means I'll have a cap to my name!"
Gary in Oxford, via text on 81111

0954 - Ind 63-3 (31 overs)
Gambhir is watchful against Swann - until he pulls away with Swann about to deliver the ball, and umpire Daryl Harper signals "dead ball". It's the only event of note in another maiden over - Swann has figures of 4-2-4-0. Go on, KP, give Monty a go!

"I currently am living in Norway, and regularly see a group of people playing cricket outside where I work, it's obviously just a fun thing with mixed teams, but the sight of people running into bowl with a Fjord as a background is a bit strange to put it mildly"
Chris Wilkinson in the TMS inbox

0951 - Ind 63-3 (30 overs)
As Gus on TMS recalls the only hundred of his batting career (for Stanmore 2nd XI), Anderson sends down a maiden to Laxman - smart money would be on a draw now, whatever Mystic Steino [see 0835] thinks...

"Denmark IS a cricket-playing country. We're off to South Africa in March for the World Cup Qualifier - my wife Cathy has been their scorer for the past 10 years!"
Chris, Staxton, Yorkshire, in the TMS inbox
INTERNET LINK: Denmark qualify for World Cup Qualifier

0947 - Ind 63-3 (29 overs)
Laxman is on the defensive against Swann, before driving a single past the bowler. Prior nearly gets one right in the chops as it flicks off Gambhir's pads (and thanks his lucky stars he's wearing a helmet to stand up to the stumps), before he guides a two off his legs to Monty at fine leg.

"They play cricket here in Sweden without sightscreens, and on decidedly dodgy wickets but talking about strange places to play cricket, one must now include Mohali? Has ever any other match been delayed so much because of fog? Smog maybe, but fog?"
Michael Sellers, Malmo, in the TMS inbox

0945 - Ind 60-3 (28 overs)
Laxman is still fishing outside off stump to Anderson, who is getting a bit of reverse swing. Laxman is rapped on the pad, there's a fairly big shout, Umpire Rauf shakes his head and they run two leg-byes down to third man. Hawk-Eye shows it was doing too much and would have missed leg stump. Laxman nicks the strike off the final delivery.

"[Re: cricket in strange countries at 0840] Kazakhstan! We organised a game for the locals on the only piece of grass in the city that is flat enough to bowl on, had the gear shipped in from Australia and explained the basic rules (including effective sledging and that one bowls and does not pitch). Apart from assorted cricket-playing-nation expats we only had two turn up, and they were both girls. It was good fun though, apart from me getting a bang on the head when one of the girls chucked the ball at me when I wasn't looking"
Andrew Devine in the TMS inbox

0938 - Ind 57-3 (27 overs)
Swann sends down a rapid maiden to Gambhir, nothing doing.

Angus Fraser
"Just looking at the England shirts, under the badge they have their Test cap 'number' - Anderson is 613, Pietersen is 626 and [debutant] Swann is 641 - will anyone will want 666?"
Angus Fraser (England cap number 537) on TMS
[And will Darren Pattinson - number 640 - ever be seen in an England shirt again? MM]

0935 - Ind 57-3 (26 overs)
Despite Gambhir having scored just 26 from 80 balls, England begin the final session with four men on the boundary as the left-hander faces Anderson. Just a single to one of those boundary fieldsmen (on the cover boundary) from the over.

"Clearly, to anyone who knows anything about cricket that is, England orchestrated the collapse of their last six wickets (showing Oscar calibre disappointment) simply to give time to bowl out a terrified defensive India and tie the series with a confident non-collapsing last day of marmalising batting. In the bag!"
Stephen Shelton in the TMS inbox

0930: Back in action. The final session technically runs from 0930 GMT (1500 local time) to 1130 - though they can extend it to 1200 if they haven't bowled the overs. But Aggers reckons realistically, they're only likely to get two hours' play in before the light fails again.

"Has anybody else noticed that in the revamped Australian Test squad (0543) no less than five of the players' names begin with 'H'?"
Tom in the TMS inbox
[As well as Messrs Haddin, Hauritz, Hayden, Hilfenhaus and Hussey (M), you could add recent internationals Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, James Hopes and David Hussey! But to make a full XI, you'd need to go back in time to call up Ian Healy and Ian Harvey - MM]


A sandwich
0911 - Ind 56-3 (25 overs)
Time for some spin - Graeme Swann is going to have a twirl before tea, still wearing his sunglasses. But Gambhir has one eye on the cucumber sandwiches, and he dabs a single, allowing Laxman to play out the rest of the over. India lead by 207. Time for a sandwich - we'll be back under way at about 0930.

"Hardly surprising that Dravid went for nought. That blow in the nether regions made him play 'gingerly' [0748] and once you think you're playing like Paul Collingwood early on there's no hope"
Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox

0906 - Ind 55-3 (24 overs)
Laxman is finally off his "pair" as he cover-drives Jimmy for two to bring up the fifty, then he benefits from a streaky edge between second slip and gully, and India's 44-minute boundary drought is ended.

Vic Marks
"After the last few mornings, I don't know which is more entertaining - watching paint dry or watching fog lift"
Vic Marks on TMS

0902 - Ind 49-3 (23 overs)
Gambhir drives at Flintoff but can't beat the infield, although a no-ball advances the score. He tries taking a fresh guard as Flintoff comes off a short run and switches to bowling over the wicket, but Gambhir guides another two off his legs - it's been 40 minutes since we've had a boundary.

"Slight alteration to your summary of Robert Key [0802]: he is a flat-footed weak attack bully who isn't and has never been Test class and hopefully won't get within the side in a month of Sundays. I don't rate Shah either. We could really do with one top quality new batsman to emerge"
Adam in the TMS inbox

0857 - Ind 46-3 (22 overs)
Anderson keeps it tight against Gambhir, he nudges a single to deep square leg. Laxman looks a fish out of water at this early stage, swishing and missing at the final delivery. Tea due in just under 15 minutes.

Vic Marks
"India are remarkably passive at the moment - making sure they can't lose the game - but it doesn't always work when you try to do that"
Vic Marks on TMS

0852 - Ind 45-3 (21 overs)
Flintoff is still bunging it in outside off stump to Gambhir, who's not playing at anything he doesn't have to. A single brings Laxman on strike, he shoulders arms outside off stump.

"Bhagwat Chandrasekhar of India (1970s) was another whom everybody wanted to bowl at as I recall. He managed only 167 runs in 58 Tests at an average of just over four and quite a lot of them were boundary snicks through the slips!"
Mark Paget, Dubai, in the TMS inbox

0847 - Ind 44-3 (20 overs)
VVS Laxman is the new man in - will we see a Very Very Special innings from the boy Vangipurappu? He's on a pair too - and negotiates the rest of the over safely.

Wicket falls
0843 - WICKET - Tendulkar c Swann b Anderson 5 - Ind 44-3 (19.4 overs)
Broad takes a rest and Anderson returns, while Gus Fraser threatens to leave the TMS commentary box if Simon Hughes reads out a poem about Tendulkar... but it's obviously put the jinx on Tendulkar as he hangs his bat out and guides one straight into the hands of Graeme Swann at gully! India lead by 195.

"(0712 & 0525) 'Frantic bell ringer?' - I live next door to a closed order of nuns! Bells night & day! Ding-dong merrily on high... help!"
David, Spain, in the TMS inbox

0840 - Ind 44-2 (19 overs)
Gambhir remains cautious against Fred, weaving out of the way of a bouncer before finally working one off his hips down to the sunhat-clad Montster at fine leg. Tendulkar leg-glances a single to keep the strike as some wild music ("Punjabi rap", says Simon Hughes) is played over the PA system.

"Talking of cricket in Denmark [see 0821], I held my stag do there in August this year, the highlight being seeing 25 English lads (with rather large hangovers) playing cricket in one of the parks in the city. I wonder what other typically non-cricketing countries cricket has reached?"
JD in the TMS inbox

0835 - Ind 42-2 (18 overs)
Just a single from Gambhir as India are becalmed - while my match-report colleague David Ornstein is overcome with optimism and says he believes England can win this. Normally I'd scoff - but he predicted India would win the last Test, even before they began their second innings. But will Mystic Steino be right this time?

Simon Hughes
"Malcolm Marshall was the only bowler who ever bowled me a ball that was so fast I didn't see it. It was a Championship match at the old Southampton ground at Northlands Road and I was out first ball - the first I saw of the ball was when it rebounded off my off stump. Robin Smith asked me in the bar afterwards, 'Did you bat?'. Malcolm used to bowl with his thumb tucked under the seam, but could really make the ball talk"
Simon Hughes on TMS remembers a true Hampshire and West Indies legend

0830 - Ind 41-2 (17 overs)
Flintoff finally gets Gambhir to play at one, which he dabs into the covers. He finally rotates the strike for the first time in ages with a single down to Monty at fine leg.

0825 - Ind 40-2 (16 overs)
Tendulkar is off the mark as he cover-drives Broad, Pietersen at mid-off (still nursing an injured rib) sticks his foot out rather than diving for the ball, but misses and it goes for four. Broad then has a long, loud lbw appeal turned down against Tendulkar, but the replay shows a thin inside edge onto his pad. Good decision, Mr Rauf.

0821 - Ind 36-2 (15 overs)
First bowling change of the innings as Andrew Flintoff replaces Anderson, and he goes round the wicket to the southpaw Gambhir, who lets every ball go outside off stump.

A pie
"So Yuvraj is a 'pie-chucker'. Just as well Gatting isn't playing! And by the way, am trying to arrange for England to play a five-match series here in Denmark but the locals are not interested. They want stiffer opposition, eg Ireland"
Roger in Denmark in the TMS inbox
[So how is Denmark taking the news of Copenhagen's favourite son Amjad Khan's elevation to the Test squad? MM]

0813 - Ind 36-2 (14 overs)
What can Tendulkar do here? Broad bangs in a couple of short deliveries, then Sachin gets down on one knee to the last ball but plays and misses. Another maiden, and time for a drinks break - with the immaculately-dressed waiter bringing on drinks for the umpires as normal.

Get involved on 606
"This match is unfolding just the way I had foreseen. England have done well to get Sehwag early, now unless one of these two teams implode a very tedious draw in the offing"
Umpire Strikes Back on 606
[Your "unfolding as I had foreseen" chat is worryingly reminiscent of the Emperor in 'Return of the Jedi' - MM]
Join the debate on 606

0808 - Ind 36-2 (13 overs)
The Indian fans go wild as their hero Sachin Tendulkar enters the action, while the Barmy Army are up on their feet to give England similar encouragement. Gambhir sees off a maiden over.

"Given that there had only been an hour's play, did these guys really need a full lunch break?"
Vijay Raman in the TMS inbox

Out for a duck
0802 - WICKET - Dravid b Broad 0 - Ind 36-2 (12 overs)
Gambhir shoulders arms to Broad yet again but after he pushes a single off the fifth ball, Broad gets one to stay low which knocks Dravid's middle stump over!

"I have kinda lost track of who's who since moving abroad, but what happened to the likes of Hoggard, Simon Jones, and Rob Key? Are they injured or have they too lost the power to play Test match cricket?"
Mark McGurran in the TMS inbox
[Hoggard was dropped after one bad game in New Zealand and appears to be completely out of the picture, Jones is fit again and has been talked about for a possible recall, while Key has played in the England Lions side but appears to be behind Shah and Bopara in the pecking order. Fair summary? MM]

0757 - Ind 35-1 (11 overs)
Dravid is living up to his nickname of "The Wall" here, more obdurate defence and another maiden over.

Jonathan Agnew
"I've got to know the security guard outside my hotel room very well - he has one of those shortened machine guns, but he's very friendly. And the England medical staff have been very generous with Lemsip on this tour"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

0753 - Ind 35-1 (10 overs)
Gambhir tries to cut Broad, but can't beat Paul Collingwood at backward point. Simon Hughes on TMS notices that Amjad Khan is on for a sub-fielding stint, with Ian Bell having left the field soon after that painful-but-spectacular run-out of Sehwag. Would have been three maidens from the last four overs if Broad hadn't bowled a wide.

Text in your views on 81111
"Thanks to all of you at TMS - have set my alarm every night. Looking forward to WI series"
Sue Rahman, East Yorks, via text on 81111

0748 - Ind 34-1 (9 overs)
Dravid gets a painful inside edge into what Simon Hughes describes as his "inner thigh"... it looked a bit higher up than that to me. Ouch. Dravid gingerly sees off another maiden.

Ravi Shastri
"India are the only team who can win this game. But they won't declare today - they'll play their normal game until tea and then take it from there"
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri on TMS

0744 - Ind 34-1 (8 overs)
Broad is a bit wild outside Gambhir's off stump, and umpire Rauf isn't happy about where Broad is landing - remember, he went close to getting a warning for running on the wicket in the first innings, and received two such warnings from Rauf's compatriot Aleem Dar on his Test debut in Sri Lanka last year. Gambhir off-drives through the covers and the outfield looks pretty quick as it sails away for four.

Simon Hughes
"If you were a bowler struggling for rhythm, the batsman you'd most want to bowl at would be Dravid - and the one you'd least like to would be Sehwag"
Simon Hughes on TMS

0740 - Ind 30-1 (7 overs)
Dravid is watchful early on against Anderson and plays out a maiden over, although he also plays and misses a couple of times.

Simon Hughes
"I like it when the stump camera goes black after a dismissal, as that gives you some idea of how you feel when you're out"
Simon Hughes on TMS

0735 - Ind 30-1 (6 overs)
New batsman Rahul Dravid looks on as Gambhir shoulders arms to the final delivery of the over.

Wicket falls
0733 - WICKET - Sehwag run out (Bell) 17 - Ind 30-1 (5.5 overs)
Poor old Bell is a ball-magnet in the field as Gambhir guides a two off his legs to the boundary. After a single, Sehwag straight-drives, Broad half-stops the ball and it ricochets to Bell at extra cover, Sehwag tries to take a quick single anyway but Bell holds on to the ball, leaps through the air like Jonty Rhodes and demolishes the stumps like a wrecking ball! Sehwag walks! Amazing scenes!

"People complain about Monty's inability to bat. But with an average of 5 and a bit, how bad is he? Surely there must be someone with a worse batting average out there! Devon Malcolm was a bit of a rabbit with the willow. Glenn McGrath wasn't much cop!"
Andrew Devine in the TMS inbox [Monty's average of 5.51 before this Test compares with McGrath's 7.36 and Malcolm's 6.05, but beats Chris Martin of New Zealand who averages 2.17 and has nearly twice as many Test wickets as runs! MM]

0729 - Ind 27-0 (5 overs)
Sehwag smears Anderson for another two to Bell at deep mid-wicket, causing KP to remove a slip and reinforce the mid-wicket area. Sehwag then opens the face to thread a four down to his favoured third man area. He completes the over by steering another one down to deep square leg, where Bell dives in from deep mid-wicket (evading Monty P running round from fine leg) but only succeeds in pushing the ball over the boundary like a goalkeeper pushing the ball round the post.

0724 - Ind 17-0 (4 overs)
Sehwag scythes and misses at Broad - after that procession of wickets this morning, are we in for an entertaining afternoon of "Sehwag being Sehwag"? Just three singles scampered from this over. If you're just getting up and heading out for the day (if you're unlucky enough not to be working at one of those offices which packed up for Christmas on Friday), don't forget you can follow all the action - including this text commentary - on your mobile or PDA.
How to get cricket scores and news on your mobile

0719 - Ind 14-0 (3 overs)
After a 43-minute lunch break, Anderson resumes and after a single from Sehwag, he gets Gambhir to nibble at one outside off stump. Gambhir pushes another single but signals that there's something wrong with his bat, while Sehwag flicks a two and then a one off his legs, both down to Ian Bell at deep square leg.

Vic Marks
"I expect Dravid will be padded up in case an early wicket falls, but if these two knock it around, Dhoni could move himself or Yuvraj up the order"
Former Somerset and England off-spinner Vic Marks on TMS

0712: The frantic bell-ringer (see 0525) signals the start of the second session. Tea will be at 0910 GMT.

New Zealand v West Indies
0707: Meanwhile, in Napier, West Indies have finished the day on 278-7 - so they're "net" 214-7 against New Zealand. Chris Gayle is still there on 146 not out from 325 balls (13 fours and six sixes), but one collector's item - the run machine known as Shivnarine Chanderpaul was out first ball!
Full scorecard: New Zealand v West Indies

"Mark, do you get stats on how many people are visiting your text commentary page? Is your BBC bonus based on it? Do you phone your friends to wake them up? Or are you still laughing at the term BBC bonus?"
Mark (there's a lot of us reading your commentary in the UAE) in Abu Dhabi, in the TMS inbox [To answer your questions in order: yes, no, no and I can't think what you mean! MM]


0637: Don't forget to have a listen to TMS as they'll be reviewing the cricketing year...

0634 - Ind 9-0 (2 overs)
Stuart Broad takes the second over to Sehwag, who's on a pair after his first-innings duck. Gus Fraser on TMS is being teased by ex-Middlesex team-mate Simon Hughes about when he bagged a "king pair" (golden ducks in both innings) against Lancashire's "assassin" fast bowler Patrick Patterson. But Sehwag is up and running as he flashes a drive at Broad and gets an inside edge past square leg for a single! Gambhir sees off the rest of the over, and that's lunch. For me, a quick bit of breakfast from the BBC canteen is the order of the day, back with you in a little while...

"If Jerome Taylor could score a century, why not Jimmy Anderson?"
Ian D, Delmar, California, in the TMS inbox

0628 - Ind 8-0 (1 over)
Jimmy Anderson to take the new ball, and he has two slips and a gully in for the left-handed Gautam Gambhir, but his first delivery is down the leg side. Another wild one down leg is helped on its way for four by Gambhir, while an effortless flick of the wrists guides another four through backward square leg and has the Indian fans waving their flags with delight.

Ricky Ponting
"Some of the Aussie press are baying like a pack of rabid wolves for the head of the 'Punter'. Some good comments on the forums here, my favorite being 'Ponting can't cope now that his strategy has to be more than Plan A: Give ball to McGrath, Plan B: Give ball to Warne or Plan C: Give ball to 'em both'"
Chris, Melbourne, in the TMS inbox

0622: India now have to negotiate a couple of overs before lunch. Will Sehwag look to build up his appetite by trying to thrash the ball out of the ground?

ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS - India lead by 151 on first innings

Wicket falls
0616 - WICKET - Panesar c Gambhir b Harbhajan 5 - Eng 302 all out (83.5 overs)
Would you believe, this last-wicket stand by Jimmy and Monty is already the fourth-highest partnership of the innings?! Monty plays and misses at Harbhajan, before a rather ungainly scoop over the bowler's head brings him another two! Come on Monty! Unfortunately, Mr Panesar's entertaining cameo is ended as he pushes forward, it deflects off his pad and Gambhir snaffles another catch at short leg. Bhajji finishes with 4-68, and England have lost their last six wickets for 22 runs (including that last-wicket stand of nine).

0611 - Eng 300-9 (83 overs)
Another single from Anderson, then Zaheer bangs in a bouncer at Monty who ducks away. Another bouncer is fended off by Monty, but it falls agonisingly short of the diving Mishra at short extra cover and they belatedly run a single! Anderson is riding his luck too, he inside-edges a single past his stumps. Monty turns the last ball off his legs for a leg bye to bring up the 300 for England.

0608 - Eng 297-9 (82 overs)
Anderson dabs Harbhajan for a single, then another Monty edge falls short, this time in front of Dravid at slip... An immaculate forward defensive from Monty, whose family hail from the Punjab (which may make him a local hero of sorts), sees off the over.

Monty Panesar
0604 - Eng 295-9 (81 overs)
Last man Monty Panesar leaves his first ball, before edging his second just short of keeper Dhoni. Monty then has to dig out a yorker, which scoots past mid-off and they run two. Monty's bat has no label for sponsor or manufacturer - with a Test average of 5.51, do you think companies might pay him NOT to advertise them? Is that cruel?

Wicket falls
0601 - WICKET - Swann b Zaheer 3 - Eng 293-9 (80.3 overs)
The second new ball is available, but not taken (India didn't take it in the first Test) as Zaheer switches to bowling round the wicket in the manner of Wasim Akram, swinging it away from Swann before reversing one in that goes straight between bat and pad and rips out Swann's leg stump. Bring on the Montster!

0558 - Eng 293-8 (80 overs)
Harbhajan is continuing his round-the-wicket line of attack to Swann, who is trying to keep his forward prods away from the predatory hands of Gautam Gambhir at short leg. Swann forces a single, while Anderson is struggling to get bat on ball.

0555 - Eng 292-8 (79 overs)
Swanny will have to call for his helmet here - as Mishra's off and the canny left-arm swinger Zaheer Khan is going to have another go with the old ball. He has Jimmy playing and missing a couple of times and it's a maiden.

"In recent times it looks like Australian and England teams are in the receiving end of sledging by various teams. These teams can talk all they want, the moment other teams start doing it they react like in yesterday's case of Pietersen with Yuvi"
Giri Chintarlapalli in the TMS inbox
[If you didn't hear, KP called Yuvraj a "pie-chucker" in yesterday's press conference - MM]

0550 - Eng 292-8 (78 overs)
New batsman Graeme Swann is batting in a cap with the spinners on - having scored one and seven in his first two Test innings in Chennai. Harbhajan bowls around the wicket, but Swann runs him down to third man for two.

Wicket falls
0548 - WICKET - Broad b Harbhajan 1 - Eng 290-8 (77.4 overs)
Harbhajan has three close catchers for Anderson, who takes a single. But then Broad shoulders arms to one that doesn't turn much, and it knocks over his off stump! Well left, Stu...

0545 - Eng 289-7 (77 overs)
Mishra skips in to Broad, who prods forward, they think about a single but Anderson is sent back as Dhoni scampers out to retrieve the ball and the "Burnley Express" has to retreat to the bowler's end. A no-ball - rare for a spinner - spoils what would otherwise have been a maiden.

"I find it frustrating that England had a perfect opportunity to give some other members of the squad a go such as Adil Rashid, Amjad Khan, Owais Shah. Instead they have dragged out the same old faces who have let us down on numerous occasions, Bell, Collingwood, Harmison and co. England were in a win-win situation here in that win, lose or draw they would have not lost any respect in the eyes of the cricketing world because they came back to India [after the terror attacks in Mumbai]"
Paul in Melbourne in the TMS inbox

0541 - Eng 288-7 (76 overs)
An interesting choice for England - Stuart Broad is sent in ahead of fellow Notts man Graeme Swann. Broad nudges a single, while Anderson guides a two off his legs to fine leg.

"I believe James Anderson was the wrong choice as nightwatchman as he would have been too focused on continuing his streak of never having made a duck in Test cricket, hence why he was desperate for a single"
Imran, Reading, UK, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
0537 - WICKET - Prior c Dhoni b Harbhajan 2 - Eng 285-7 (75.1 overs)
Bhajji strikes! Prior tries to feather the first ball of the third over of the day down the leg side, but only succeeds in nudging a thin edge to the delighted Indian captain and keeper Mahendra Dhoni!

0536 - Eng 285-6 (75 overs)
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra tosses the ball from hand to hand before fizzing a couple in at Prior, who defends his stumps before turning the last ball to leg for a single..

0534 - Eng 284-6 (74 overs)
Harbhajan Singh, wearing an old-style cable-knit sweater (good for him, I still prefer them to the new fleecy tops), opens proceedings but his first ball is straight-driven by Anderson, Bhajji misfields and they run a single. Prior pushes his first ball for a single, while Vic Marks and Simon Mann on TMS both think scorer Bill Frindall should have succeeded Carol Vorderman on Countdown as he reels off the number of overs lost so far in this game.
Ask Bearders: Put your questions to Bill Frindall on the TMS Blog

Get involved on 606
"Anderson owes England today, he has to stick around for another 100 runs and take five wickets for one run (a la Botham 81)"
Etienne123 on 606
Join the debate on 606

0525: Well, we're finally going to get some cricket here, as the five-minute bell rings... and keeps ringing! There is clearly a furiously devoted campanologist on the Mohali groundstaff... India walk out and have a Michael Vaughan-style huddle on the pitch, while England nightwatchman James Anderson is accompanied by new batsman Matt Prior.

"Morning Mark - up again, same baby, same teeth (see last two mornings) - most telling thing Ponting said was 'too many passengers' which gives the impression heads will roll. Also discussed Hayden, but said he is his best mate - if it were England, Hayden would be in for life, as that seems our main criteria"
Nigel, Coventry, in the TMS inbox
[One head has already rolled - they've dropped Krejza (see 0453 entry below) - MM]

Angus Fraser
"Justin Langer once walked in at tea after we'd had a bad session at Middlesex and threw all the cream cakes into the bin, saying 'You guys don't deserve them'"
Angus Fraser on TMS

"I think it's very generous to be comparing Pietersen to Lara and Tendulkar [see Siddarth's comment at 0446]. He is a very good batsman but we'll see if he gets to their level. He still lacks a fair bit of composure for my liking - like Yuvraj's over yesterday and getting out when he did. As for the debate on Bell, I don't feel England should just be waiting til his inevitable next 100. Shah is/was the form batsman and should be given a chance, someone will get injured soon enough anyway and Bell will be back in"
Alex, China, in the TMS inbox

Jonathan Agnew
"England coach Peter Moores is giving James Anderson some slip catches, which is strange as he's got to go out and bat now, but it should improve his reflexes"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

0504: We're going to start at 0530 GMT, Aggers reveals on TMS. Lunch will be at 0630 GMT. We'll then have an afternoon session between 0710 and 0910, then tea, then a final session from 0930 to 1130. Play can theoretically continue until 1200 if they haven't bowled the overs, although realistically we'll have gone off for bad light by then.

Australia v South Africa
0453: Some news just in - Australia have named a 13-man squad for the second Test against South Africa on Boxing Day, while the Proteas have named three uncapped players in a 15-man squad for the ODI series which follows in January. The Aussies have dropped off-spinner Jason Krejza, while adding all-rounder Shane Watson, off-spinner Nathan Hauritz and seamer Ben Hilfenhaus. The uncapped Proteas are swing bowlers Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell, and batsman Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

Australia squad for second Test: Ponting (capt), Clarke, Haddin (wk), Hauritz, Hayden, Hilfenhaus, M Hussey, Johnson, Katich, Lee, Siddle, Symonds, Watson.

South Africa squad for Twenty20 and ODI series: G Smith (capt), Botha, Amla, Boucher (wk), De Villiers, Duminy, Gibbs, Kallis, A Morkel, M Morkel, Ntini, Parnell, Steyn, Tsotsobe, V van Jaarsveld.

Simon Hughes
"Tea intervals for Mike Gatting at Middlesex were like a feeding frenzy - he had 20 minutes to eat as much as he could, so he would rip the crusts off the sandwiches and just eat the meat. But there's a lack of urgency about the players out there, which gives the impression they're not going to start imminently"
Simon Hughes, aka "The Analyst", on TMS

Bad light stops play
0446: The umpires are out on the field having a look with their light meters to take a reading, but Simon Mann on TMS says the light is still "not great".

Simon Hughes
"I was playing for Middlesex against Lancashire at Southport on Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding day on 29 July 1981. All the crowd were in their Sunday best as it was a national holiday, listening to radios - and in the time between Prince Charles walking up the aisle as a bachelor and walking back down as a married man, Clive Lloyd had scored 91!"
Former Middlesex and Durham seamer Simon Hughes, aka "The Analyst", on TMS
[Simon modestly omits the fact he took 6-75 in that innings! MM]
INTERNET LINK: Lancashire v Middlesex scorecard (29-31 July 1981) from CricketArchive

"I am afraid as much as I like Pietersen as a batsman, I think he could very well end up like Lara... playing for an average team as the top batsman of his time. I think England find themselves in a position much like India were in the 1990s, revolving solely around Tendulkar"
Siddarth in the TMS inbox

Bad light stops play
0411: If you're just joining us, like yesterday we've got a delayed start because of fog in Mohali. No word yet as to when play may resume (we got under way at 0500 GMT yesterday in similar circumstances), but have a listen to TMS where Gus, Vic and Simon Mann are having a good old natter (and as it's Monday morning, you have my permission to drift in and out of sleep as you wish while we're waiting).
How to listen to Test Match Special

Text in your views on 81111
"A question, Mark, when was the last time England actually won in this similar sort of position with the odds against them?"
D Rudden, Gillingham, Kent, via text on 81111
[Good question - what about New Zealand at Old Trafford this year? 179 behind on first innings, but Monty ran through NZ for 114 and England scored 294-4 to win? Any other suggestions? MM]
REPORT: Strauss ton inspires England win over Kiwis

Vic Marks
0400: Vic Marks on TMS reveals his pride in owning a Sheffield Shield winner's medal - "not many Poms have got one, apart from Tony Lock", he explains - after a spell with Western Australia in 1986. "They wanted a spinner and they asked Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Pat Pocock, but they couldn't make it, so they came to me," he explained. Presumably "Marks" was easier to fit on the back of a shirt than Sivaramakrishnan, too, but I'm not sure if they had names on shirts in 1986...
INTERNET LINK: Vic Marks' career statistics from Cricinfo

"What happens if Prior gets a score today? He has the talent and he has the time, given the situation of the game and KP's belief that the match is heading for a draw. Will a big score here put the wicketkeeping question to bed for a while? Let's be honest, probably not"
John Davies in the TMS inbox

Ricky Ponting
0355: The TMS team are also revelling somewhat in Australia's defeat by South Africa at Perth yesterday - apparently various Aussie newspapers are calling for the head of the Perth groundsman (or as they say Down Under, the "curator") because of the state of the pitch. Anyway, it's always fun to hear post-match interviews like Ricky "Punter" Ponting's yesterday, when he starts every sentence with the word "Look" and says he won't make any excuses... before blaming the pitch!
REPORT: South Africa run chase stuns Aussies

New Zealand v West Indies
0351: Just to keep you up-to-date with events elsewhere in the world of cricket, Chris Gayle has smashed five sixes in an unbeaten century against New Zealand in Napier. Possibly the most savage hitting seen at McLean Park since I watched Tim Southee knock seven bells out of England in the final Test there in March... The West Indies are 224-4 at tea on day four against New Zealand, but are "net" 160-4 after they were 64 behind on first innings.
Live scorecard: New Zealand v West Indies

"Morning Mark… prediction is England out by lunch, India to turn the screw for five sessions including another couple of tons. Sadly, can't think of a time when we have been such a one-man team. Bell and Harmison will be no good to us against the Aussies as they are now, Monty has improved not one iota since last winter, and forgive me for raising an old argument… but PLEASE can we have an out-and-out gloveman"
Marc in Hong Kong, in the TMS inbox
[It seems there's nothing that raises the collective ire as much as debate over the England wicketkeeping position - MM]

Angus Fraser
"I asked India coach Gary Kirsten last night whether India would be willing to set England a target. Basically, he said no"
Former Middlesex and England seamer Angus Fraser on TMS

0343: Weather update - Aggers on TMS says the visibility has improved. Slightly. But it still may be a while before it's good enough for us to start.

Adam Mountford
0338: While we're waiting for the fog to clear, I can recommend a look at the TMS Blog, where producer Adam Mountford has compiled his "Team of 2008". The final XI is: G Smith (capt), Sehwag, Ponting, Pietersen, Tendulkar, Chanderpaul, Sangakkara (wk), Flintoff, Zaheer Khan, Muralitharan and Mendis - you can join the many people who have already had their say. The TMS team will also be reviewing the last 12 months and looking ahead to 2009 at the lunch intervals of today's and tomorrow's play.
TMS Blog: Adam Mountford's Team of 2008

Jonathan Agnew
"If there's one thing I can talk about with authority, it's being stuffed as nightwatchman, as I did it for many years myself [for Leicestershire]. Anderson should have said 'no' to that single in the last over to protect Flintoff"
Angus Fraser
"You're expected to take the majority of the strike, whether you're protecting the other batsman out there, or the next man in"
Former tail-end batsmen and occasional nightwatchmen Jonathan Agnew and Angus Fraser on TMS

Umpire Daryl Harper
"The fog is pretty much the same as it was yesterday morning, so we'll wait to see when it clears. The ground manager here is excellent and he believes the sun will come out and burn it off, so we'll see"
Umpire Daryl Harper

Jonathan Agnew
"We're able to see one set of stumps, but not the other. We can't see the far end of the pitch at all, or the scoreboard"
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on TMS

Bad light stops play
0315: Morning, everyone. After a three-day text commentary marathon, Ben Dirs takes a break and I'll be your guide for the last two days of the Test (and the series).

Play is scheduled to start at 0330 GMT (half-an-hour earlier than normal, as we continue to try to make up time lost over the first three days), but with Mohali covered in fog like it was yesterday morning, we're going to have another delayed start. Ho hum.

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see also
Batsmen restore India's control
22 Dec 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
22 Dec 08 |  England
India v England photos
22 Dec 08 |  England
England crushed by Tendulkar ton
15 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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