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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
England extend lead despite rain
By Mark Mitchener

First Test, Lord's, day three (close):
England 298 & 77-2 v India 201

Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss
Michael Vaughan (left) helped England extend their lead to 174
England consolidated after good work by their seamers to build a 174-run lead in the first Test against India.

The home side were frustrated by rain for much of the third day at Lord's, but reached the close on 77-2 after earlier dismissing India for 201.

James Anderson took 5-42 and Ryan Sidebottom 4-65 as the tourists lost their last six wickets for 46 runs.

They fought back as Zaheer Khan removed Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook but England ended play with the upper hand.

Only 48.2 overs were possible on a day which began with India on 145-4 in response to England's first innings total of 298 and Sourav Ganguly looked comfortable early on.

But after adding just nine to his overnight score of 25 he was yorked by a superb delivery from Anderson in the sixth over of the day which swung in perfectly between bat and pad.

606: DEBATE

Nightwatchman RP Singh overtook his previous best Test score of six but after reaching 17 in an entertaining cameo innings, eventually skied Sidebottom to mid-off where Anderson completed a regulation catch to leave them 173-6.

His dismissal brought in hard-hitting wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni, who had to wait a couple of overs for his opportunity while VVS Laxman farmed the strike.

But there were no fireworks from Dhoni, who edged his fifth ball to Ian Bell at third slip for a duck, to give Anderson his fourth wicket of the innings.

With the ball swinging well for both Anderson and Sidebottom, it left Laxman playing a watchful innings following the early flurry of wickets - but he soon lost another partner when Sidebottom's inswing trapped Anil Kumble lbw for 11.

James Anderson shows his delight after bowling Sourav Ganguly
Anderson removed Ganguly on the way to his best Test figures of 5-42
And Laxman himself was caught behind by Matt Prior for 15 as England - whose bowling was impressive, despite missing injured pace quartet Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones - sensed a first-innings lead.

Anderson and Sidebottom both had four wickets at this stage, but it was Anderson who booked his place on the Lord's honours board when Zaheer had a wild swish which carried high to Strauss at first slip.

It gave Anderson his Test-best figures of 5-42 - and England a first-innings lead of 97, along with a potentially difficult two-over spell to begin their second innings before lunch.

Strauss and Cook safely reached 8-0 before the interval, but rain then intervened - with 110 minutes (and 20 overs) lost - before play resumed at 1530 BST.

On the resumption, new-ball pair Zaheer and Sree Santh found little help from the cloudy conditions in the early overs.

Some wayward bowling outside off-stump was punished by Strauss and Cook, who hit a succession of early boundaries.

Zaheer did have one lbw appeal against Strauss, but umpire Steve Bucknor was less sympathetic than on Friday morning when Santh obtained three successful leg-before decisions.

Santh, bristling with exuberance, then showed his frustration by throwing the ball back to the striker's end, where it struck Strauss on the back of the leg after he had straight-driven back to the bowler.

Strauss retaliated by pulling away as Santh was running in to bowl the next delivery.

Two MCC members look on as the rain falls at Lord's
It was a rain-affected day for MCC members and other spectators
The Middlesex opener eventually fell for 18 when he edged a good delivery from Zaheer that moved away to Sachin Tendulkar at first slip.

Zaheer then finally persuaded Bucknor to raise his finger when Cook was rapped on the pad and fell lbw for the second time in the match, leaving England 43-2.

Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen brought up the half-century but the three seamers kept it tight in the fading light until it rained again at 1645 and an early tea was taken.

An abortive restart at 1745 was quashed when the rain returned, but after two hours off the field, it was announced that play would resume at 1855.

Under the playing regulations, play had to resume before 1900 - but once started, could then continue until 1930.

Pietersen was fortunate when he nicked Zaheer past fourth slip, where a fielder had recently been removed.

Vaughan helped himself to a boundary from a leg-side half-volley from Santh, but he and Pietersen were largely happy to play out time until the close, with the skipper unbeaten on 16 and Pietersen on 15.

It left England 174 ahead with two days remaining and the match intriguingly poised - but with the home side in the ascendancy.

SEE ALSO
Anderson delighted by Test best
21 Jul 07 |  England
Late wickets spoil England's day
19 Jul 07 |  England
India in England 2007
08 Jan 07 |  Cricket


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