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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 12:00 GMT
England put India under pressure
Third Test, Mumbai (day two, stumps)
England 400; India 89-3

Matthew Hoggard
Matthew Hoggard strikes for the first of his two wickets on Sunday

England produced a solid performance in Mumbai (Bombay) to leave India 89-3 chasing the tourists' score of 400.

Owais Shah (88) and Andrew Flintoff (50) both did well with the bat on day two although Flintoff was dropped off successive balls from Munaf Patel.

England's seamers were impressive when India batted and Matthew Hoggard removed both openers in a fiery spell.

James Anderson then trapped Sachin Tendulkar, who edged a wide ball to the keeper and departed for a single.

A good morning for England on Monday could see them take full control.

The one blemish for England was the loss of five wickets either side of lunch, which resulted in a collapse from 326-3 to 356-8.

Young paceman Sri Sreesanth triggered that demise for excellent figures of 4-70 in only his second Test appearance.

But it was Patel (2-81) who looked the most impressive, and he was particularly unlucky when India took the second new ball early in the day.

You've always got to back yourself, especially against the spinners
Owais Shah

England began the day with Flintoff and Paul Collingwood both relatively new to the crease in a score of 272-3.

As soon as Rahul Dravid took the new ball after five uneventful overs, Irfan Pathan extracted some exaggerated swing movement and might have dismissed Collingwood lbw for 21.

Flintoff eased the pressure with a sumptuous hooked six off Pathan before Patel worked up a head of steam at the other end.

Flintoff had only reached 29 when he edged Patel between first and second slip, where Virender Sehwag, diving to his left, grassed the chance.

And from the very next ball, Anil Kumble dropped a much easier chance to his right at gully.

An increasingly exasperated Patel then watched as Flintoff top-edged a pull shot off him towards Pathan at fine leg.

But though the fielder grabbed the catch, the momentum forced him to step back over the boundary rope as Flintoff recorded his third six in the innings.

Collingwood was finding runs much harder to come by and when he edged a drive at Sreesanth, the edge was gratefully taken by Mahendra Dhoni.

The breach having been established, England then lost two further wickets quickly before lunch.

Owais Shah
Owais Shah showed a cool head in his maiden Test appearance

Flintoff had twice hit Kumble for four through the leg-side. But attempting a repeat, he holed out tamely to deep mid-wicket to fall for 50.

Then Geraint Jones played an appalling flat-footed drive at Sreesanth to give Kumble the easiest gully catch a man could have.

Shah, who resumed on 50 after retiring with cramp at tea on day one, was batting with Shaun Udal when the middle session began.

The pair had put on 32 for the seventh wicket when India struck again, Patel finally getting an overdue wicket when Udal played all around a full straight delivery to be lbw.

And the next ball was too much for Hoggard, bowled for a golden duck.

The last two wickets yielded a precious 44 runs.

Shah had a century in his sights when lofting Harbhajan into the stands at long-on, but the bowler had his revenge in his following over when Dravid dived to take a fine catch at slip.

Anderson showed some improved batting skills to get to 15 before giving short leg a catch off Harbhajan and India's openers survived five overs before tea.

But in the final session, England's seamers did what India's had twice failed to do - take wickets with the new ball.

Hoggard was in his element and he first struck when Sehwag, not for the first time in the series, failed to get his gloves out of the way of a short-pitched ball which then looped into Shah's lap at first slip.

The Yorkshire swing merchant had Wasim Jaffer dropped in the slips on three but the error cost just eight runs.

Having been fed a diet of pitched-up away singers, Jaffer was out of synch when he got a short ball from Hoggard.

Again, the ball took the gloves and this time Jones took the deflection down the leg-side.

Tendulkar was in no frame of mind to end a worrying run of failure in Tests and he was the next man out when Anderson, working up good pace, had him taken by Jones.

At 28-3, India were gasping for a recovery and the dependable Dravid found a partner willing to play a few shots in Yuvraj Singh.

Yuvraj announced his arrival with an effortless cover-drive for four off Anderson and some poor bowling from Udal allowed both batsmen to hit boundaries.

Another wicket or two late in the day would have put India in serious trouble with only Mahendra Dhoni and the bowlers to come.

But as it was, Dravid and Yuvraj cruised into the 30s with dreams of a big score on day three.




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