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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 12:31 GMT
Fletcher predicts tough final day
A Flintoff and D Fletcher
It was nice to get one of their players out and there was another close call there at the end
Duncan Fletcher

England coach Duncan Fletcher said he felt his team were in a better position than India ahead of a tense final day in the third Test in Mumbai (Bombay).

India are 295 runs shy of their target while England need nine wickets for a win which would tie the series.

"I would rather be in our changing room, but there's still a lot of hard cricket to be played," said Fletcher.

"We are pretty close to where we would have wanted to be at this stage and the players have done very well."

England spent most of the day building their lead and it was widely expected they would declare some time after tea.

But with runs so hard to come by, and wickets falling, they were eventually all out for 191 with captain Andrew Flintoff making the only half century.

Fletcher said: "We had to really work hard at it and there's no doubts that the players felt the wicket had changed a little bit and it was really hard to get runs.

"Andrew had to change his game plans and it was difficult because we just kept losing wickets at vital times.

"We would have liked to have set 350-360 with 120 overs at them, that was the target we considered all along, but we changed it as we went through the day."

England picked up one wicket when Irfan Pathan, an all-rounder sent out to open the innings, played on to James Anderson.

"We would have liked to have got one of the top batters out but it was nice to get one of their players out," said Fletcher.

Irfan Pathan
India have already lost the wicket of makeshift opener Pathan

"There was another close call there at the end [when Wasim Jaffer narrowly survived an lbw appeal].

"For most of the four days we have dominated most of the sessions if not all of them. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and play some more good cricket."

With Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar both carrying injuries, India face an uphill task to mount a successful run chase.

But Harbhajan Singh believes they can round off the series with a win providing they do not lose early wickets.

"If we survive the first session without losing too many wickets, then we can go for the chase. The pitch is not doing much and there's good bounce, so the batsmen can play their shots," he commented.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: England coach Duncan Fletcher



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