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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 12:06 GMT
Bowlers earn big lead for England
Third Test, Mumbai, day three (close):
England 400 & 31-2 v India 279;
James Anderson
It's been a long time since I've played. I'm really pleased
James Anderson

James Anderson and Geraint Jones combined to give England the upper hand in the third Test against India.

The tourists will take a lead of 152 into the fourth day in Mumbai despite losing Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell cheaply as they closed on 31-2.

Anderson had two chances dropped off his bowling but took 4-40 and produced a direct hit to run out Mahendra Dhoni, who smashed 11 fours in his 64.

Jones supported his bowlers with five catches as India were all out for 279.

It left them 121 in arrears, but could have been far worse but for a ninth-wicket stand of 55 between Anil Kumble and Sri Sreesanth.

It was the third time in the three Tests that the home tail has contributed a sizeable partnership, and it threatened to take the gloss from England's day, as they strive to square the series at 1-1.

As the England bowlers tired in more sweltering heat, Kumble, the third highest India run-scorer in the series, found a useful foil in Sreesanth, who has got under the skin of the tourists throughout.

The combative 23-year-old paceman was hit by a bouncer from Andrew Flintoff, but responded with an extraordinary swat over mid-off for four next ball.

It was Monty Panesar who made the breakthrough, straightening one to trap Kumble lbw for 30, and an Anderson yorker accounted for last man Munaf Patel (7), leaving Sreesanth undefeated on 29.

Flintoff had opted to use his spinners after lunch, and it was not until 40 minutes before tea that Matthew Hoggard was brought back, the new ball taken at 200-6 in the 83rd over.

Hoggard produced a banana shaped delivery that sadly started too wide, but Flintoff was smashed for consecutive fours by Dhoni, who then edged the third ball to the boundary.

In an eventful over, Dhoni took an injudicious single and after Anderson's adroit pick up and throw, the third umpire was left with a desperately difficult decision, particularly in view of Dhoni's revered status with the crowd.

Geraint Jones
Jones leaps to claim his third spectacular catch of the day

Then Anderson was brought back for an over before tea and found just enough movement to catch Harbhajan's edge, and an inspired Jones flew high to his right in front of slip again.

The first 20 minutes of the afternoon session produced only 11 runs, before Pathan laced two fours in three balls after full tosses from both slow bowlers.

Pathan would have been run out on 21 had Strauss hit after picking up smartly from extra cover, then survived on 23 when a top-edged sweep fell short of Strauss, this time slow to react, at leg-gully.

He appeared to have nicked Udal via the gloves of Jones to Paul Collingwood at slip but umpire Taufel disagreed.

Next ball however, he did his team no favours three overs before the new ball was due by lofting the perservering Udal, whose four overs cost 27 on Sunday, to a well-positioned Hoggard three-quarters of the way back at mid-on.

Earlier, the key wicket of Rahul Dravid wicket spared sub fielder Matt Prior from a difficult lunch with his colleagues, the Sussex keeper inexplicably spilling a gully catch straight to his midriff off the unfortunate Anderson.

It was two balls after Dhoni had driven to extra cover and Panesar, who many expressed doubts about in the field before his Test debut, could not cling on when tumbling to his left.

That it was Anderson who dismissed Dravid, failing to add to his reprieve on 52, was particularly apt as the Lancashire seamer had impressed with his control after replacing Flintoff following the captain's three-over opening burst.

Glancing down the leg-side, Dravid, who had completed his third fifty of the series, was superbly snaffled by a full-stretched Jones.

Dhoni is struck by a Flintoff bouncer
Flintoff bowled with typical fire and commitment in the hot conditions

Flintoff had almost had Yuvraj Singh caught with his first delivery of the day, but more steepling bounce found the edge in the same over and Jones took off to snaffle the catch to the left of first slip.

He also beat the bat and found the leading edge of the formidable Dravid in a typically whole-hearted spell of 1-9.

Dhoni, urged to hit every ball to the boundary by the fervent crowd, showed some early restraint, for a few moments anyway, before swiping wildly at Anderson, who found traces of swing that mostly eluded Hoggard.

He was not in any control of another savage drive that brought him four off Hoggard, and was then felled by a brutal Flintoff bouncer that missed the back of the helmet as he took his eye of the ball and smacked into his head.

After receiving lengthy treatment that continued frequently between overs, Dhoni was given another short one next up, but showed his mettle by hooking it to the boundary.

Having taken 75 frustrating minutes to take the final two wickets and secure a first innings advantage of 121, England then made slow progress against the new ball.

Kumble was introduced after nine overs but it was young paceman Sreesanth who looked more dangerous.

Bell completed a poor match with another tame dismissal, needlessly playing wide of off-stump with no foot movement.

Udal who was sent out as night-watchman and he might have departed second ball after a huge appeal for caught behind, but umpire Hair did not agree.

The veteran spinner was also dropped badly by Yuvraj at third slip and played and missed repeatedly, but he held on for one of the more unconvincing two not outs.

Interview: England bowler James Anderson

Interview: England wicket-keeper Geraint Jones

England put India under pressure
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18 Mar 06 |  England
India grounds profiled
13 Feb 06 |  Cricket
England in India 2006
25 Feb 06 |  Future tour dates


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