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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 12:02 GMT
Late wickets boost England hopes
First Test, Nagpur:
England 393; India 322-9 (day three, stumps)

M Hoggard
Hoggard was at the centre of everything on Friday morning

Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar took vital late wickets on day three as England revived their hopes of winning the first Test against India in Nagpur.

A 128-run stand between Mohammad Kaif and Anil Kumble allowed India to recover from 190-7 but both fell just before stumps to leave India 322-9.

Matthew Hoggard (5-57) was in superb form during the first session after overnight rain enlivened the pitch.

With England still leading by 71 runs, they are the team with the advantage.

Both Kaif and Kumble profited from dropped catches early in their innings which, if taken, would have left the hosts in a very awkward situation.

Having made just 18, Kaif - who ultimately fell nine runs short of a maiden Test century - drove Andrew Flintoff back to the bowler.

If you don't move the ball laterally, you're cannon fodder
Matthew Hoggard

But the skipper could not quite complete a tough chance falling away to his right.

Geraint Jones' error was a bad one, though, spilling a regulation outside edge when Kumble had scored just nine.

Harmison was the bowler left gritting his teeth and the batsman went on to score 58 - his best effort in 14 Tests against England.

Hoggard had grabbed the morning headlines, when a bit of dampness and mist allowed him to move the ball about.

India captain Rahul Dravid, with centuries in his three previous Test innings against England, was unable to add to his overnight 40 when India began on 136-1.

Hoggard dismissed him in the third over of the morning. His appeal for lbw was upheld by Aleem Dar although replays suggested the ball may have missed leg-stump.

There was no doubt about the next wicket, though, when the Yorkshire man struck again in his following over as Jaffer (81) drove straight to Flintoff at second slip.

The very next ball, Hoggard struck again, with VVS Laxman unable to get his bat to a another inswinger which struck his pad in front of middle-and-off.

Monty Panesar
Panesar jumps for joy after dismissing Kaif

Again, though the decision looked straightforward to the naked eye, exhaustive TV analysis suggested an inside edge which may or may not have occurred after the ball had thudded into the pads.

Either way, the onus was on Sachin Tendulkar and Kaif to rescue a worrying situation.

But the "Little Master" had only reached 16 when debutant Panesar claimed a famous victim for his maiden Test wicket, by persuading Dar to raise his finger once again.

This time, Tendulkar played with his bat behind his pad, and replays showed the decision was a good one.

Mahendra Dhoni, regarded as a fine hitter, was in no mood to play defensively and when he drove loosely at Flintoff a thin edge behind put India in dire straits.

Soon after lunch, when Irfan Pathan edged Hoggard into the slips, the English lions were rampant.

But Kaif and Kumble had other ideas. Both men started patiently at first before Kaif drove Hoggard for two fine boundaries just before tea and despatched Ian Blackwell for two more just after the interval.

Kumble hit two delicate late cuts off Panesar for four before going through a more fortuitous phase against the seamers when edges narrowly evaded the fielders and the stumps.

With the heat taking its toll on England's bowlers, Harmison finally persuaded Kumble to nick to first slip, where Alastair Cook took his first catch at this level.

And in the next over, a ripper from Panesar, pitching on middle and taking the top of off-stump, ended Kaif's six hour vigil.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Matthew Hoggard


News conference: India's Wasim Jaffer




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