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THIRD NPOWER TEST, The Oval (day five):
India 664 & 180-6dec draw with England 345 & 369-6

Kevin Pietersen hit his 10th Test ton to help England claim a draw at The Oval, but India still secured a first series win in England since 1986.

Resuming on 56-0, England never made a push for the 500 needed to level the series, Andrew Strauss's 113-ball 32 indicative of the hosts' approach.

But Pietersen (101) was in superb form and shared in stands of 66 and 144 with Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood.

He fell to Sree Santh (3-45) late, but Ian Bell's 67 helped England to 369-6.


By Ben Dirs


e-mail (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject) or use 606


"The dogs playing pool painting was actually based on a branch of Pavlov's experiments, where once a bell rung the dogs would dress in human attire and attempt to best each other at chain smoking and various bar games."
D Byrne, Bookham, in the TMS inbox

"Even prior to the smoking ban, surely the dogs would never have got away with smoking over the table. And you certainly wouldn't want to be using the table after them - imagine all the hair!"
Tom Wheeler, Leeds, in the TMS inbox

1824 - Eng 369-6 This is all a bit desperate from both sides now. Kumble goes up for lbw against Prior, but that hit his thigh, before Prior turns him round the corner and turns down the run. England need 131 off three balls. Another dismal leg before appeal before Prior blocks out the final ball of the summer. India celebrate as if they've just won the Sun Bingo before falling into one of those jumping jack huddles. That's me done, although I think I'm doing a one-dayer or two. Many thanks for all of your emails, sorry I can't post all of them, and I'll see you all soon.

"In response to D Greaves, the bulldog may just be lining up his next shot on the black and thinking about his positional play. I think we should give the burly pooch the benefit of the doubt, after all, he will lose the frame if he proceeds with the pot."
Steve, London, in the TMS inbox

1820 - Eng 369-6 Big lbw shout from Tendulkar against Sidebottom, but that looked like it was going down leg. Sidebottom gets a full-bunger on leg stump and flicks it away for a couple.

"Can you please tell Shankar from Strasbourg that we at the Strasbourg Strollers are desperate for players for the big Luxembourg away fixture in September? No cricketing talent necessary. He can contact me through the website at"
Nemo, Strasbourg, in the TMS inbox

1816 - Eng 367-6 Siders is popular this evening, he's got eight close fielders for company. Sidebottom gets off the strike with an overthrow before Prior "yes, nos" and Siders just manages to scramble back to his crease. Anyone think India shouldn't have enforced the follow-on now? Silly, very silly...

1813 - Eng 366-6 Four overs left. Prior misses out on a couple of full-bungers from Tendulkar and there is a no-ball and a bye from the over.

"Not only have the dogs got a disregard for the the smoking ban, but the bulldog seems to be cheating! There are both stripes and spots left on the table and the bulldog is trying to pot the black."
D Greaves in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
1807 - WICKET: Bell lbw b Kumble 67 (Eng 363-6)
Bell is out, Umpire Bucknor deciding that, despite a huge stride, that ball from Kumble would have hit the stumps. On TMS, they think that was plumb, but how you can be sure that would have hit the stumps when the batsman gets that sort of stride in is beyond me. Bell, attempting the sweep, is ruddy furious and doesn't even acknowledge the crowd as he marches from the pitch. Sidebottom is the new batsman and Kumble gives him some chin music! Sidebottom manages to get an inside edge into his chest, but Dhoni is unable to reach the ball.

1804 - Eng 363-5 Leg-break from Tendulkar and Prior opens the face and picks up one to third-man. Karthik at short-leg is unable to reach what Tendulkar thinks is a catch, but that came off his hip.

"Did Churchill ever lead England to a tie with Zimbabwe?! No! Long live Bumble!!"
Scotty, Southampton, in the TMS inbox

1800 - Eng 361-5 Bell plays stylishly into the covers for no run, but Singh gets carried away and gives up four overthrows with a wild shy at the non-striker's end. Four more for Bell with a clip to mid-wicket - all run. Kumble's mood will be darkening by the second - four more for Bell, getting down on one leg and shovelling Kumble over the shoulder. And another! Bell uses his feet and flips Kumble through mid-wicket. Kumble looks like a man who has just been given a bonus only to discover half of it will be eaten up by a much-needed root canal. Hold on...

That's 50
1754 - Eng 344-5 That's Bell's fifty from just fifty balls courtesy of a skip down the pitch and a drive to mid-on. Tendulkar then almost chops Prior in half with what looked like a flipper. Poor shot from Prior, who could very easily have chopped on.

"Benders, clearly the dog painting pre-dates both the smoking ban in public houses and animal rights activists. Frankly, they would have had a field day with smoking, drinking dogs in amusing waistcoats and headgear."
David Harrison in the TMS inbox

1749 - Eng 341-5 Shankar, Strasbourg has emailed to tell me that Santh is a former Indian breakdance champion! Tremendous. Santh gets in a lather about a prospective leg before against Prior and Umpire Bucknor takes literally four or five seconds to turn him down before giving Santh a ticking off. It was going over the top. We're playing on, Sachin's going to have another go...

"You must be the only person I know that has actually watched Electric Boogaloo, the much inferior sequel to masterpiece of 80's cheese Breakin'. But remember: 'If you can't beat the system...break it!' and if you want to save your local community centre, get a load of break dancers in day-glo to give you a hand."
Lisa, London, in the TMS inbox

1745 - Eng 341-5 Nine overs to go after this one. Prior scythes a Kumble quicker ball to the third-man fence - he wasn't really in control of that and we can expect a couple of googlys now. He tries one out but gets his line wrong and is turned round the corner for one. Bell is playing like Bradman and he plants his front foot and carts Kumble through mid-on for four. A groan goes round the office as Dravid has a chat with the umpires - they think it's all over! We're playing on...

1741 - Eng 332-5 An office purrs as Bell crackerjacks a not-so short ball through wide long-on for four and they all make Sid James noises as Bell reaches for one and the ball disappears over the boundary rope at backward-point.

"Just got in from work and seen a picture of dogs playing pool on the TMS page. It doesn't get more surreal than this."
Mike, Spain, in the TMS inbox

1737 - Eng 324-5 Bell stays back and clips Kumble through mid-wicket for a couple and he's very nearly caught later in the over, but the fielder at short-leg just failing to get his hands to a very sharp chance and that's one more for the Warwickshire man.

"Re the dogs playing pool pic, the bulldog's technique is appalling and the flagrant disregard for the smoking ban a disgrace. This kind of behaviour will give pool-playing canines everywhere a bad name."
Paul, Grimsby, in the TMS inbox

1734 - Eng 321-5 Zaheer strays onto Bell's pads and is flipped away for a single. Prior is squared up by Zaheer and it looks as though England are going to hold out for a draw here. A cheeky young scamp holding up a sign bearing the legend, "David Lloyd, you're my hero". I'm a big Churchill man myself, I feel his achievements slightly eclipse those of Bumble, although not by much.

"Aha, Benders, I see you are choosing 'The Hustler' to portray dogs playing pool. I personally would have gone for the more comical 'Jack the Ripper', or, my personal favourite 'One Leg on the Floor'. The chap who did dogs playing cards was Cassius Coolidge, but his paintings are not as famous as these beauties."
Eddie, Blackburn, in the TMS inbox

1727 - Eng 320-5 Bell flips Kumble to mid-wicket for a couple before bringing up his 2000th run in Test cricket with a nurdled single. Fourteen overs left today including this one, although they'll probably shake hands before that. Four fielders round Prior's bat but he blocks out the over.

"Has there ever been a more ugly celeb couple than Janet Street Porter and Normski? I'm so glad they didn't have any kids."
Simon Rudgley in the TMS inbox

"The game of downing pints which you described at 1705 is called 'Saving the Queen', where you put a penny in your unsuspecting mate's pint (while holding it) and the only way to save the Queen is to down their pint. May I just add that I am very patriotic."
Joe Duane, Central London, in the TMS inbox

1720 - Eng 316-5 Kumble is back into the fray and you sense this is India's final throw of the dice. He gets one to fizz past the edge of Prior's rather wooden lunge, but Prior does pick up two with a wristy clip to mid-wicket.

"Benders, your artist analogy suggests that the bloke who painted dogs playing pool was unimaginative and portrayed a perfectly sane image in his work. What a world you must live in."
Steve, London, in the TMS inbox

1716 - Eng 314-5 Bell's not mucking about - he carves Singh through point for four before latching onto a short one and yanking him through mid-wicket for another boundary.

Dogs playing pool
1710 - Eng 306-5 That's a maiden from Santh, Prior happy to watch his deliveries go through just outside off-stump. FOR THE LOVE OF KP! I MEANT DOGS PLAYING POOL, NOT DOGS PLAYING CARDS! STOP GETTING DOG ART WRONG! See for yourself! Sorry, it's been a long day..

1705 - Eng 306-5 Classy stroke from Bell, dragging Singh from outside off-stump and watching the ball race through mid-wicket for four. Paul Levy (see below), I believe the artist in question did a series of paintings depicting dogs playing various pub games, including cards (in green visors), pool and that one where you try to make people down pints by throwing bits of paper in their drink.

Dear Ben, Weren't the dogs playing cards?"
Paul Levy, Lausanne, Switzerland, in the TMS inbox

1701 - Eng 301-5 Prior gets off a pair with a nurdle to leg for one. One for Bell before he gets on top of a short one from Santh and paddles it round the corner for another single. Just seen a replay of Santh busting some moves. I've seen nothing of the kind since a mate of mine was presented by Normski with a B&H rucksack for winning a breakdancing contest at Romford Ritzy in 1993.

1656 - Eng 297-5 Prior, on a pair, is the next man in. Bell creams Zaheer through the covers for four. Nice shot, not sure he needs to be playing it at this stage. Another four for Bell, this time all along the floor through mid-off.

Wicket falls
1651 - WICKET: Pietersen c Karthik b Santh 101 (Eng 289-5)
Pietersen goes for a tempter outside off-stump and nicks Santh to Karthik at first slip. KP just switched off there and Santh launches into some body popping! There's the shoulder roll, but no crazy legs! For a moment there I was transported to the set of seminal body popping movie Electric Boogaloo. Lovely stuff. Shame about Pietersen though, England could be toast now.

He's reached 100
1649 - Eng Santh gives Pietersen a free hit for his ton and Pietersen misses out, dragging the ball into the covers for no run. And that's Pietersen's 10th Test hundred in only his 30th match , standing tall and whipping Santh to the mid-wicket fence. Off comes the lid and he salutes each corner of the ground like a gladiator at the Roman Colosseum. There's the future Mrs Pietersen on her feet, and even the Indian fielders are giving him a round of applause. They know class when they see it.

1644 - Eng 285-4 False stroke from Pietersen, the ball squirting out to mid-wicket. He does pick up a couple with a turn off his pads before latching onto a short one from Zaheer and slapping him away for four through backward-square. And that's three more for Pietersen, easing Zaheer through the covers to move to 97. What a player this man is.

"Did you have to print that comment by Lady Constance? The mention of Richard Digance and Morris Dancing in the same sentence has ruined what was, until now, a perfectly reasonable summer."
Paul, Ballymena, in the TMS inbox

1640 - Eng 276-4 Easy single for Bell, whose second innings scores this summer have been 3, 2 , 9, 0. Not clever. Santh has a confident lbw appeal turned down by Umpire Howell, but that was going well over. It's all getting very tetchy out in the middle, Santh's having a go at KP now. Pietersen picks up a single to leg and he's now 88. Don't think there's any chance of an early finish, India will fancy they can blow away England tail in less than an hour.

1634 - Eng 274-4 Pietersen drops Zaheer into the covers and scampers one before Bell nurdles a single to leg. They're on about whether their dads gave them a clip round the ear on TMS. They did.

"Well thank you! I now have Rolf Harris' Two Little Boys going round my head. I wouldn't usually mind, but I have successfully been a grumpy cow all day and now the illusion is shattered as I keep humming and blurting out 'did you think I would leave you crying when there's room on my horse for two!' Why couldn't I be allowed to enjoy the last Test in quiet misery and depression? Hmm?!?!?!"
Gemma, London, in the TMS inbox

1631 - Eng 272-4 Bell is the new batsman and he smothers his first two deliveries. Santh drifts on to Bell's pads and is clipped away for four and the Warwickshire man picks up two more with a good-looking drive into the covers.

"I know this might make me rather unpopular...but I've quite enjoyed Ben this summer..."
Iain in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
1628 - WICKET: Collingwood lbw b Santh 40 (Eng 266-4)
It's time for Santh and umpire Howell brandishes the new cherry. And that's Collingwood gone! The first ball with the new ball and he appeared to just miss a straight one, it would have ripped out his off-peg.

1625 - Eng 266-3 Pietersen carves Tendulkar through point for four and Sachin is giving it plenty of chat, who rattled his chain? Tendulkar tries a quicker one and is laced through the covers for a few. Sachin gets one past the face of Colly's bat before the Durham man nurdles him for a single.

1619 - Eng 253-3 Pietersen uses his feet to Kumble and clips him to mid-wicket for a scampered single. If Pietersen is Picasso, all vibrant colours and insane imagery, then Collingwood is the bloke who painted dogs playing pool.

1615 - Eng 252-3 The new ball is due but Dravid is sticking with Tendulkar. Tendulkar serves up a sharply-turning off-break but spoils it all with a rancid long-hop which is dispatched to the mid-wicket fence.

"Pink Floyd summed it up perfectly - 'Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way'..."
Albert Ross, Liverpool, in the TMS inbox

1612 - Eng 247-3 Yet another appeal by Kumble against KP, but once again that pitched miles outside leg. Pietersen ambles through for one before Colly nurdles Kumble to mid-wicket for another. Gossamer touch from Pietersen, who gets a big stride in and feathers Kumble round the corner for four to move to 76. If Kumble gets KP out, I reckon he'll announce his retirement on the spot.

1608 - Eng 241-3 Tendulkar lobs down an off-break and Colly clubs him through square on the on-side for four.

1602 - Eng 237-3 Four men round the bat and Colly dabs into the on-side to move past 2000 Test runs, every one of them a little nugget. Pietersen gets on strike and Kumble thinks he's got him caught at short-leg. These two really don't like each other, and CMJ on TMS thinks it goes back to something that happened in Nagpur.

"Ben, if you want to curb the involuntary wailing noises, how about whistling irritating half- tunes through the gap in your teeth, or better still, spitting at your colleagues. They will be so outraged, the time will pass very quickly, and before you know it, you can go and fetch your dirty vests from Dicky, and I can stop pressing F5."
Carole, Maidenhead, in the TMS inbox

1600: Hello you. Players are back out and we're ready for the last session of Test cricket of the summer. I feel I should hand out a few awards, but I haven't got any to give out.

"Dear Ben, You should have been at Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival on Saturday, when Richard Digance had a field of 20,000 people Morris Dancing to Two Little Boys¿"
Lady Constance in the TMS inbox

1540 - Eng 232-3 Bumper from Singh and Pietersen rifles him through square-leg for four. KP's got the hump, Kumble's got the hump, umpire Howell's got the hump, it's like one big ruddy hump at The Oval. That's tea and the combatants are kept apart as they leave the field of play.

1536 - Eng 226-3 SOME ARGY BARGY AT THE OVAL! The ball comes off Colly's foot, dribbles back down the pitch and Kumble flares up, accusing KP of getting in his way. To be fair to KP, he was just backing up and Kumble was a little bit naughty there. Very out of character that from Kumble, like seeing Ben Fogle kicking the face off a chocolate labrador at Crufts. Got to be honest, I know who I'd fancy in a stand-up between those two. "Anil, you're a big man..."

Jonathan Agnew
"I hate seeing meaningless cricket, what's the point in it? If it's pointless, then finish it for the day..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1531 - Eng 221-3 Singh is back into the attack with his left-arm seam. Pietersen flashes and skews four down to third-man. Pietersen and Colly exchange singles and KP picks up one more with a whip to leg. Have to be honest, all those calling for England to give it some tap and go down all guns blazing, it's not really realistic. Kumble bowling into the rough, nine men on the boundary, it's just not going to happen and it never was going to happen. Someone strike up the Rachmaninov...

1528 - Eng 214-3 Umpire Bucknor seems to have a bit of a word with the close fielders surrounding KP, perhaps telling them to turn it down a bit. Pietersen reaches and yanks Tendulkar to mid-wicket for one.

"Martin-Jenkins' sentiments (better not to take any unnecessary risks by showing fighting spirit and playing for an impossible victory; much wiser to bore the punters rigid holding grimly on for the pointless draw that will mean ultimate defeat) offer a pretty good microcosm of the decline of this once-great nation..."
Rob Sykes in the TMS inbox

1525 - Eng 213-3 Colly gets on top of the spin and paddles Kumble away for four.

1521 - Eng 209-3 Tendulkar getting feisty and having a few words with KP, I sense The Little Master is enjoying his little spell with the cherry in hand. KP turns Sachin round the corner for one and Colly clips him to mid-wicket for another. I've started making involuntary wailing noises and my eyes have started to water. But, as my old nan used to say after yet another three-hour bout of grumbling, "mustn't grumble..."

"Razzle is now 'risqué and shifty and £2.50'. And I only know for professional reasons..."
Stewart Dacre in the TMS inbox

1518 - Eng 206-3 Kumble still ripping away from one end and that's another maiden...

"Ah Ben, the warm ale and the streakers may now be rare, but Morris Dancers are to be found in profusion both in the Shires and even in Hammersmith! One of the best opportunities to see them at Sidmouth Folk Week has, unfortunately for you and all your readers, just passed for another year."
Tom, Exeter, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
1515 - Eng 206-3 That's KP's 11th Test fifty courtesy of a nibble to square-leg for one. Colly tucks Tendulkar to mid-wicket for a single before Pietersen edges Tendulkar sketchily for four.

1512 - Eng 200-3 Kumble still fizzing it out of the bowler's footmarks and the game is being to meander. If these two make it to tea, you'd have to fancy England to save this.

"Razzle is £2.80 now. I only buy it so I can hide the Daily Mail inside it to avoid embarrassment when walking out of the shop."
Steve, London, in the TMS inbox

1509 - Eng 200-3 That's a pearler from Tendulkar, a googly which scythes the lunging Pietersen in half. KP gets one for a paddle-sweep and that's England's 200. Tendulkar is mixing it up like Murali - he gets one to shoot the other way and find Colly's edge, but Dhoni is unable to make it stick behind the stumps.

1503 - Eng 198-3 Bit of frustration from Zaheer, digging one in and the ball ballooning over Dhoni's head and running away for four. Classic cover-drive from Pietersen, big high elbow, and the ball races away for four. Zaheer overpitches and Pietersen moves to 47 with a free-flowing swing of the arms and a four to cover-point. One more for KP with a nurdle to leg. Twenty-seven runs from the last two overs.

"I'm sorry to have to be the one to break this to you but you're a little old to be afraid of monsters under your bed. Pull yourself together man."
Greg, Westminster, in the TMS inbox

1459 - Eng 184-3 Collingwood prods Tendulkar through point for four before squirting a cut through third-man for another boundary. Tendulkar mixing it up, and Colly gets what looks liked a medium pace inswinger. Risky from Pietersen, shovelling the ball to point and Colly just managing to make his ground. Colly swings Tendulkar to mid-wicket for two and there are 13 from the over.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins
"Everyone now knows that England have no chance whatsoever of winning this so attacking shots just aren't needed..."
Christopher Martin-Jenkins on TMS

1454 - Eng 171-3 Zaheer back into the attack and Pietersen continues to kuckle down. It's like watching Ronnie Wood sat in a battered armchair knitting a chunky jumper. Knew he couldn't do it for long, KP flailing at a wide one and the ball flying through imaginary third slip and away for four. Boycs is going off his head in the TMS commentary box...

1449 - Eng 167-3 A rare whip-cracked stroke from Pietersen, marmalised through mid-wicket for four. Santh hits back with some chin music and that was a snorter, right up Pietersen's nose. KP gives Santh a patronising smile and Santh bristles as he stands in the middle of the pitch. Drinks.

"Old flat mates and Girls Aloud make it sound all very end of term. If I'd known I would have paid a pound and worn my own clothes. I'd have even asked sir if we can bring in our own games. Kerplunk anyone?"
Rich, Cheltenham, in the TMS inbox

1445 - Eng 162-3 That's a maiden from Kumble and, like some horror movie monster, he's just not going away. All this hanging on for dear life is mentally fatiguing. Rob Walker was the man charged with keeping spirits up in my school cricket team. He'd strap a couple of copies of Razzle to the inside of his pads and we'd pass it round while another innings desintegrated out in the middle. I know Razzle's probably still rude and naughty, but does anyone happen to know whether it's still one pound forty?

1442 - Eng 162-3 Santh seems to be getting a bit of reverse and Pietersen just manages to dig out a late, inswinging yorker. Really hooping it now, Santh, but Colly steers him into the covers for one.

"Don't worry, I left the underneath of the bed well alone. That's a mans very personal space and I wouldn't dare intrude."
Richard Drea in the TMS inbox

1438 - Eng 160-3 Pietersen nudges a single to deepish mid-off before Colly plays his trademark tuck to leg for one. Pietersen frees his arms, reaching for a wide one from Kumble and lacing him through the covers for four.

Wicket falls
1431 - WICKET: Vaughan c Dhoni b Santh 42 (Eng 152-3)
Ripsnorter from Santh, the young firebrand getting the ball to jag back violently at Vaughan. Oh my giddy aunt, you'll not see a more irresponsible shot than that, Vaughan, feet nailed to the crease, wafting at a wide one and Dhoni taking a regulation catch behind the timbers. Deary, deary me, Peter Moores should rip down Vaughan's flannels, put him over his knee and give him several smacks with a beefy length of Duncan Fearnley. Collingwood is the new batsman and he survives the over.

"Alan Orpin!!! Is this THE Alan Orpin, of the fantastic Chess Book? Wow. Who needs Richard Stilgoe?"
Sean Williams in the TMS inbox

1428 - Eng 152-2 Vaughan plays a forward defensive and the ball falls just short of the fielder at silly mid-off. Vaughan gets a leading edge and the ball squirts into the off-side before tucking Kumble to deep mid-wicket for a few. That's the England 150.

1423: Right, not sure what that was all about, players are trotting down the steps and we'll have play in a couple of minutes. The last day of Test cricket of the summer and still no streakers. There's goes another great English institution, along with Morris Dancers and foaming jugs of warm ale. WHERE'S MY DAILY MAIL?!!

Re: Alan Orpin. Surely 'Gel Head' and 'Chav' are diametrically opposed - can be it possible to be both of them?"
George, Cheltenham, in the TMS inbox

1419: The good news is there's some blue cloud rolling in at The Oval and they should be back out in five or 10 minutes.

"It doesn't seem to me to be that dark that they can't be playing cricket out there, frankly..."
Mike Selvey on TMS

1417: A thousand apologies...umpire Bucknor has actually offered the light to the England batsmen and off go Vaughan and Pietersen. Dravid's not happy about that, and it doesn't look that dark out there.

"Mingers and Chavs using TMS? Who says that cricket is elitist?"
Pete Salsbury in the TMS inbox

1411 - Eng 149-2 Santh continues to get some nice shape away from the right-handed batsmen but he bowls one too straight and is pushed through mid-on for a couple. One more for Vaughan with a clip to leg. The umpires confer over the light, but it looks to be getting a little brighter. Plenty of cricket yet.

"During your period of co-habitation (see below) were you known as Dicky and Benny or Dicky and Dirsy? Sound like some form of miscreant children's TV presenters! Perish the thought!"
Duncan in the TMS inbox

1407 - Eng 146-2 Tendulkar drags one down and Vaughan clips him to square-leg for one. Players take drinks while Vaughan gets a new bit of kit. It's coming over a bit dark at The Oval and Dravid is going to give Santh another burst with the ball. Umpire Bucknor had a quick look at his light meter there, but quickly put it away again.

1401 - Eng 145-2 Vaughan waits on a Tendulkar delivery and turns him through mid-wicket for one. Kumble drops short, Pietersen's eyes light up like pinball machines and he smears the ball through point for four. Short-leg, silly mid-off, a slip and a leg-slip in for KP as Kumble tries something different, turning the ball in from outside leg. Big shout from Kumble, but that pitched a couple of feet outside leg. Cheeky so and so. KP happy to plant his left boot and kick the ball away.

1358 - Eng 140-2 Vaughan pushes Tendulkar into the covers for one KP before tries to break the shackles with an expansive drive, but he hit that too hard and is unable to nick a single.

"As regards to the chav comment about Mr. Dirs, I am pretty confident the average chav's record collection does not consist of the aforementioned Johnny Cash or any other of Rick Rubin's projects that have been discussed. Well, maybe Neil Diamond."
Tom Heap, Leicestershire, in the TMS inbox

1356 - Eng 138-2 Kumble thinks he's got Pietersen caught at bat-pad, but there was no bat on it. Pietersen far from convincing out there, but he's digging in and showing us a girttier side of his nature. Dicky (see below), I will be clearing my stuff out tomorrow, I'll give you a bell. By the way, you didn't have a clear out underneath the bed did you?

"When are you going to come round and pick up your dirty washing? It's starting to move. I came home the other day to find your vest making a cup of tea."
Richard Drea in the TMS inbox (I used to live with him)

1353 - Eng 138-2 Vaughan stays back and carves Tendulkar through point for a couple. He risks Zaheer's arm out on the boundary and only just makes his ground, a direct hit might have been interesting. Vaughan now 33.

1350 - Eng 135-2 Four for Vaughan who prods forward and gets a thick edge. We could have a 5 o'clock finish today, I'm told. A new directive says captains can shake hands and call a halt if they think a result is unlikely.

"How ugly can your readers be that they have to resort to using TMS as a dating service? Let's get back to the cricket - mingers!"
Jeremy Goodacre, Knebworth, Herts, in the TMS inbox

1347 - Eng 131-2 Tendulkar to continue and he drifts onto Vaughan's legs and is tickled to the fine-leg fence for four. A full half-volley from Sachin is eased to cover for one before KP almost plays a carbon copy of his first innings dismissal, flailing at a sharp-turning delivery, but this time not finding the edge. Calm down KP...

1344 - Eng 126-2 Pietersen is very nearly undone by a classic delivery from Kumble, the veteran leg-spinner drifting one into KP's legs and the batsman very nearly skewing a leading edge into the of-fside. Maiden over. Alan Orpin (see below) - last week I was a minor public school Oxbridge reject, this week I'm a chav halfwit. I very nearly rose to my feet at my desk and gave you a little clap for that one.

1338: Players are out in the middle and we'll have play in a minute or so. You didn't listen to me about not emailing during the break, did you? Aologies to all those who email in and don't bet posted, but let it be known that they are all much appreciated. I would just like to make it VERY clear that I like red-headed women. I reallly can't stress it enough. I was just saying I don't fancy the one out of Girls Aloud much. Veronica Lake, big thumbs up, Nicola, big thumbs down.

"As a draw is effectively the same as a loss, shouldn't we try to win? To quote someone quotable, 'it is better to live one day like a lion than your whole life as Alan Lamb', or something like that."
Peter Rowden in the TMS inbox

"Anyone who says they like the ginger one best (see Girls Aloud discussion below) is fundamentally a liar trying to portray themselves as 'interesting' or 'different'. These people really need to grow up."
John, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

"What's wrong with John Chiedozie? Great winger for the Os. I once saw him knock the ball inside the full-back, go round him on the outside, only to find the confectionery salesboy with his tray in the way, so he went round him too and still beat the full-back to the ball."
Chris in the TMS inbox

"I had a short and staggeringly unsuccessful career as an amateur jockey a while back and I can assure you that the language and sentiments expressed by both male and female jockeys usually plumbed the sort of depths that would have made even a rufty-tufty sailor-boy like yourself go to the toilet in your trousers. So you see, I'm not a prude, I'm not easily shockable, and not even particularly PC. What surprises me, however, is that when I log onto TMS I see no page warning me that only a disappointing percentage of what I'm about to read is concerned with cricket, and the rest is not unlike an essay about pies and beer submitted by a chav halfwit."
Alan Orpin in the TMS inbox

"Actually, I think you'll find the 'The Rick Rubin' treatment involves him dragging the near-corpses of ageing rockers into a studio, plonking their shaky, greying frame behind a microphone and getting them to croak out a few appropriately emotional cover versions - all in order to pay off said rocker's debts and massage Rick's ego. I might be being a bit harsh on the genius, though."
Daniel Oaker in the TMS inbox

"The ginger one is my favourite too! What a weight off my shoulders to read that I wasn't alone!"
AJ, Hampshire, in the TMS inbox

"I asked for 'A brief history of Time' a couple of years back. After the first chapter I realised I wasn't as clever as I thought I was, and that Stephen Hawking is in fact of above average intelligence. Still, at least we had something for the fire to burn on Xmas evening."
Martin James in the TMS inbox

"Rick Rubin also invented nu-metal. FACT! Whether this is to be praised or worthy of an international tribunal for crimes against baggy shorts, dreadlocks and rotund bassists is a matter for debate."
Robert Donnellan, London, in the TMS inbox

"I once asked my mum to donate £100 to Comic Relief as opposed to getting me a Christmas present as those children in Africa needed it more than me. My sister ripped me for a while but soon stopped on Christmas morning when the son who really appreciated the spirit of Christmas got a brand new snooker table delivered by with a tube of Smarties on the spot for the black! She got an electric toothbrush."
Dave Jones, Leicester, in the TMS inbox

"In reply to Danielle, Edinburgh. I would like to put myself forward as a singleton. I am a tall, dark, handsome stranger - with all my own teeth."
Mark, Northampton, in the TMS inbox

1300 - Eng 126-2 Tendulkar turns one square and the ball beats Pietersen's prod and the keeper and dribbles away for a bye. Classic Vaughan, on-driving Tendulkar for four, but the England skipper is unable to put away a loppy full-bunger outside off. That's lunch and players march off. England can't win it now, but India can. NO MORE EMAILS FOR THE NEXT 40 MINUTES!

1259 - Eng 121-2 Dreamy cover-drive from Pietersen and the ball whistles to the extra-cover boundary. There's a shot of his delightful girlfriend up in the stands, she enjoyed that one. Although, if there are any stewards reading this, she had her feet up on the seat in front, get rid of her. One more to the total, Pietersen milking Kumble to mid-wicket.

1255 - Eng 116-2 Tendulkar giving it plenty of tweak but KP does bag one with an upright clip to mid-wicket. Bit tentative from Vaughan, playing back to a Tendulkar leg-break and angling the ball to point. Sachin gets plenty of turn, England will have to watch this one.

"John Chiedozie may not be my favourite ever Spurs player, but he is certainly one of my favourite ever Notts County players. C¿mon you Pies!"
Richard Miles in the TMS inbox

1251 - Eng 115-2 Kumble is driven easily to mid-off for one by Pietersen and there are no great dramas for Vaughan. A STREAKER, SURELY?! Nope, it's just Tendulkar coming on to bowl. Gird your loins, KP, and don't do anything silly.

1248 - Eng 114-2 Zaheer drifts onto Vaughan's pads and is tucked away for one. ECB's director of cricket John Carr is on TMS at lunch is you fancy a listen.

"I bumped into Richard Stilgoe in a lift in Harrogate once. He remained absolutely silent for the whole 17 seconds of our journey to the second floor, so, sadly, I have no amusing anecdote to tell about him."
Sean Passant, Macclesfield, in the TMS inbox

1245 - Eng 113-2 Two runs for Vaughan with a flick to deep square-leg before Dravid drops a sitter at slip. Vaughan lunged forward, Kumble located his edge and the India skipper was unable to make it stick diving to his right.

1242 - Eng 111-2 Pietersen reaches for a widish one from Zaheer but is only able to squirt it into the covers - no run. This really is manful bowling from India who have already snuffed out any hopes England had of victory. For the hosts, it's all about cowering in the trenches and hoping nothing big hits.

"Six months out of action? (see below) I'm currently undergoing such a comprehensive refit and service it looks unlikely I'll be back on the road before the London Olympics and have been garage-bound for well over two years. Perhaps you can help remedy this?"
Charlie in the TMS inbox

1239 - Eng 111-2 Beautiful bowling from Kumble, but Vaughan gets four for a glorious cover-drive that just beats Santh to the boundary. Kumble comes back well, getting one to rip out of the bowlers' footmarks and fizz past the face of the England skipper's bat.

1234 - Eng 106-2 Risky from Pietersen, reaching for a widish ball and driving uppishly through the covers for four. Two slips and two gullys in for KP, Zaheer won't mind him playing that sort of short.

1232 - Eng 102-2 Another maiden over of leg-spin from Kumble and, call me an old spoilsport, it would seem England are not going for the win. "How very vanilla of you," says my colleague when I tell him my favourite Girls Aloud girls are Tweedy and Coyle. He likes the ginger one as well, which starts off a Spartacus-like scene in the office with various people raising their hands and shouting "I like the ginger one!" What is wrong with this country? She looks like she's been apple-bobbing in a deep fat fryer.

1227 - Eng 102-2 Pietersen reining himself in and happy to just show the maker's name to Singh's nibblers. Ladies and gents, we have a maverick in our midst! Johnny in The City (see below) likes the ginger one out of Girls Aloud, which is a bit like admitting your favourite ever Spurs player is John Chiedozie. Holy focacia!

"Re: gel head. It basically means you're a 'metrosexual', obsessed with hair and looks. Could be good, could be bad...depends on your view point!"
Steve Hughes in the TMS inbox

1224 - Eng 102-2 Big stride from KP and he eases Kumble into the covers for one and Vaughan bags one with a back-foot force.

"Danielle (see below), if you look anything like Nicola Roberts (the redhead from Girls Aloud, see below), then I'm absolutely up for some speculative exchange with you."
Johnny, in The City, in the TMS inbox

1220 - Eng 100-2 The England skipper gets a thcik outside edge for two before unfurling the shot of the day from, leaning into a Singh delivery and watching the ball race through point for four. That's England's ton. Snorter of a comeback from Singh, getting the ball to nip back off the seam and very nearly clip Vaughan's off-peg.

1215 - Eng 94-2 Vaughan stays back to a quicker delivery from Kumble and flicks the ball through mid-wicket for a couple and picks up one more with a tuck off his pads.

1213 - Eng 91-2 Vaughan flicks Singh to mid-wicket for one before Pietersen gives the bowler the barn door treatment for the next five balls. Gary Carlton of Glasgow would like to know what the "Rick Rubin treatment" is. Rick Rubin is an hirsute American record producer who phones up old pop stars who haven't written a decent song in about 25 years, slaps them about a bit, tells them what's what, before getting them back in the sudio and coaxing a stone cold classic album out of them. Think Sir Cliff Richard doing an acoustic version of Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name'.

1208 - Eng 90-2 Take that, you swine! KP plonks his front foot down the track and slaps a Kumble full-bunger straight down the ground for four. KP getting a huge stride in against Kumble and smothering any spin.

Wicket falls
1204 - WICKET: Cook c Laxman b Kumble 43 (Eng 86-2)
Two down for England, Cook attempting to clip Kumble to leg and Laxman snaffling the catch at leg-slip. Cometh the hour, cometh the comes Pietersen. Sorry, not allowed to say that any more, am I. Come on Pietersen, you *#@#ing @#&*, score some runs for once. Will be interesting to see if Strauss is in England's starting line-up for the next Test. Denly of Kent is knocking on the door and the suspicion is he will play in the first Test against Sri Lanka. Aaah, Watercolour Challenge (see below). I think you'll find, Mark, that Watercolour Challenge was usually on at tea time, just before Countdown. I asked my mum to buy me watercolours a couple of Christmases ago. Has anyone asked for a more pretentious present than that?

"I bunked off work today in the hope of watching an England edge their way into a position from where they can attack. I feel I have some scrambled on my face. Oh well, it's been a while since I watched daytime TV. Is Watercolour Challenge still on at lunchtime?"
Mark, Rochdale, in the TMS inbox

1200 - Eng 84-1 Not sure Cook knows what's coming down when Kumble's got the ball in his mitts. He squirts two inside edges into the leg-side but does get four with a flick through backward square-leg.

1156 - Eng 80-1 England skipper Vaughan is the new batter and he sees out the over.

Wicket falls
1152 - WICKET: Strauss c Laxman b Singh 32 (Eng 79-1)
That's the first wicket down, Strauss attempting a back-foot force and edging Singh to Laxman at second slip. Poor from Strauss, very little foot movement and a skewed waft with the bat. "Technically," says Sunil Gavaskar on TMS, "everything was wrong with that." The Indian fans go wild and this week could be one big party, party, party what with independence day on Wednesday.

1148 - Eng 79-0 DIt's time for a bit of Kumble magic and he gets one past a tentative prod from Cook. Cook does pick up one with a turn to leg. The Essex opener does not have a sweep in his locker, which can make it hard for him to score against the spinners. Strauss nurdles to leg for one. Danielle (see below), I am never, ever "out of action", merely parked up in the garage being waxed and fine tuned. I was being waxed and fine tuned for six months once.

"I hope Richard Stilgoe chokes on his Pimm's. He made me look a fool on Finders Keepers when I was 11 years old and I've been mentally scared ever since."
Steve Hale in the TMS inbox

1145 - Eng 77-0 One bye, Dhoni unable to take the ball cleanly. Zaheer still nagging away at the England openers like a 1970's sit-com housewife.

1139 - Eng 76-0 Doozy of an off-drive from Cook and the ball races away for four. Cookey picks up one more with a nudge into the covers.

"What's happened to the romance on TMS in the last few days? A distinct lack of speculative exchanges between the hopeful singletons - anything to do with the toothache and being out of action yourself?" Danielle, Edinburgh, in the TMS inbox

1136 - Eng 71-0 Cook pushes to point, where Karthik mis-fields and gives up a single. Big lbw appeal from Zaheer against Strauss, but that was drifting down leg. Anyone know what a 'Gel Head' is? I was called one by someone yesterday, but the Urban Dictionary's definition didn't really make sense. "Does this have anything to do with the 'Gel Head' attitudes that are thought to be afoot in the BBC?" was the quote.

"I've heard that it will, in fact, be legendary crooner and guitar maestro Mark Ramprakash who undergoes the Rubin treatment next, with an acoustic cover of Slayer's 'Reign in Blood' pencilled in as the first single."
Paul, Stroud, in the TMS inbox

1131 - Eng 70-0 Nice timing from Cook, clipping Santh through mid-wicket for a few before Santh drifts onto Strauss's pads and is whipped through square-leg for four. Santh shaping the ball into the left-handers and occasionally getting his line just wrong, but for the most part he's bowling tremendously.

1125 - Eng 63-0 Zaheer angles a delivery to point and it tucked round the corner for a single. Still ploughing a groove outside off-stump, Zaheer, and not giving these England openers much. A friend tried to tell me last night that "liking Girls Aloud is a guilty pleasure". What's that all about? I like at least one member of Girls Aloud twice a week and I've never felt guilty about it.

1121 - Eng 62-0 Santh oversteps for one no-ball before Santh trots down the pitch and has a few words with Straussy. Strauss averts his gaze, he doesn't want to get involved in any funny business. Yes, dear, dear Moira. Listening to her reading about famine, war and pestilence was like bathing in a vat of molten Turkish Delight.

"Virtually impossible to get fired by the BBC, huh? Tell that to Moira Stewart."
Greg Rutland in the TMS inbox

1117 - Eng 61-0 Belt and braces over from Zaheer and these Indian seamers are cranking up the heat for England's openers. It's all overy well surviving, but they'll want to play a few strokes to ease the pressure.

1110 - Eng 61-0 An absolute crackerjack delivery from Santh, pitching the ball on middle and getting the ball to nip away - big appeal for caught behind, but Umpire Howell is having none of that. Actually, the South African has got the hump about that, adopting the double teapot and staring around at the Indian players as if he's just got back from the shops to find them all naked in his living room. Cook drops Santh into the off-side to nick the strike, but Santh is bowling like Kapil Dev at the moment. It's like 1950's Hollywood in The Oval pavilion - there's Richard Stilgoe again, getting a few jars of Pimm's in before his headline stint at this weekend's V Festival. I hear Stilgoe will be the next, after Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, to get the Rick Rubin treatment.

"How times have changed at the BBC! I remember, way-back-when, in the days of Kenny Everett, when all you had to do to get fired was suggest that the wife of the Transport Minister pulled some sort of jiggery-pokery to pass a driving test. Has Auntie gone soft? Bring back the birch!"
Jon, Lyon, in the TMS inbox

1107 - Eng 60-0 The nagging Zaheer takes the second over of the day and he's convinced he's got Strauss caught behind, or lbw, but the ball struck him outside the line and didn't hit his bat. Here goes the Happy Hooker, latching onto some short stuff from Zaheer and depositing him to the backward square-leg fence.

1100 - Eng 56-0 Santh to have first bung with the ball and his first ball is a big, hooping inswinger - big lbw appeal, but Umpire Howell reckons, rightly, that was missing leg. That's a Johnny-on-the-spot maiden from Santh. Apologies, an England win is 40-1 with Betfair, not 44-1. I will not be dipping into my pocket. Pretty full at The Oval and a large Indian contingent.

1058: Aaah, Jerusalem. I love a good hymn, Therefore We Before Him Bending being my favourite. Out come the players and we'll be off in a tick.

1053: For those of you who weren't reading yesterday, Alan Orpin wrote in to say he'd like nothing more in the whole world than for me to be fired overnight. Sorry, big man, you should know that it's virtually impossible to get fired from the BBC. If I was to go berserk today, scalp a couple of my work-mates and dance around the BBC canteen naked wearing their noses as earrings, I'd still only get a verbal warning.

"Boycs is right on the money, no point in being negative today. Time for someone to step up and make themselves a hero."
Lyndon Jones, Cardiff, in the TMS inbox

1045: Morning. Bit late, blame the Hammersmith and City. England, of course, need to bat all day for a draw, and they are 44-1 to win it. Who knows, seven or eight wickets in hand at tea? Dare to dream, Dirs, dare to dream...

"I reckon if Strauss and Cooky can stay in untill lunchtime we should then go Twenty20 on India's backside for the middle session and then see where we stand at tea; either shut up shop or go hell for leather and wait for Bearders to start reeling off the records."
Toby McCathie, London, in the TMS inbox

1032: "Plenty of spare seats in the sun here so why not treat the kids to a day at the Test? Spoke to some England fans in the tube who reckon if England get to lunch only one wicket down and then KP gets going... methinks they have been drinking already."
BBC Sport's Alistair Watkins at The Oval

1025: "If we get to lunch one wicket down and make 170 runs - that's not as daft as it sounds with this lightning fast outfield and India having to attack - then who knows? If England lose three wickets then they've no chance. But they've got to get a great platform and give themselves a one in a million chance. If you're going to lose the series 1-0 you may as well lose it 2-0"
Geoffrey Boycott on Radio 5Live

0955: It's another beautfiul London day, the memories of that awful weather in June and July long since banished. That said, there is just a chance of an afternoon shower.



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