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

By Sam Lyon

India celebrate
India secured their first series win in England since 1986

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.

It was a fine knock from the Warwickshire man, a welcome one in a second innings, and ensured England salvaged some pride from what is their first series defeat at home since 2001.

606: DEBATE

For their part, India's bowlers stuck to their task well, with Santh by far the most impressive.

It was the diminutive seamer who served warning of what was to come with the very first delivery of the day, getting one to swing back into Alastair Cook's pads that was only just missing leg-stump.

However, Cook and Strauss dug in well, refusing to play at anything wide of off-stump and getting firmly behind the straighter deliveries as they took their opening stand to 79.

Even two good lbw shouts from Zaheer Khan, the first against Cook going down leg and the second hitting Strauss outside the line, could not break their concentration and it looked like the openers might get to lunch unscathed.

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen displayed good maturity in his belligerent ton at The Oval

But RP Singh's introduction provided an immediate breakthrough, Strauss suffering a lapse in concentration and edging an attempted force off the back foot to VVS Laxman at slip.

And when Strauss fell three overs later, clipping a leg glance straight to Laxman at leg gully, England were tottering.

Pietersen and Vaughan restored order, though, mixing up good defence with the odd boundary before lunch, Vaughan in particular driving a couple superbly through the covers.

He got a life on 18 when Rahul Dravid shelled a simple chance at slip off Kumble, before he eventually fell following a 10-minute delay for poor light, flailing unwisely at a wide one from Santh.

However, if India were hoping that wicket would spark an England collapse, they were frustrated as Pietersen and Collingwood knuckled down.

The former enjoyed some luck when a Sachin Tendulkar ripper flew through his defence but missed the stumps, while Mahendra Dhoni put Collingwood down off the same bowler.

India played some really good cricket in the second and third Tests and deserved to win it

Michael Vaughan

But Collingwood was at his pugnacious best, striking five boundaries in his 81-ball 40.

And Pietersen batted against type for the majority of his innings, playing conservatively in the face of increased vocal provocation from the Indian fielders.

The South-African born batsman did up the ante after tea, even after Collingwood had been trapped plumb lbw with Santh's first delivery with the new ball.

He brought up his hundred off 155 balls, including 18 fours - the second 50 of which came off just 47 balls.

A lapse in concentration did for him four balls later, the 27-year-old edging a rising Santh delivery behind, but Bell, playing with a fluency that belied England's precarious position, and Matt Prior shared a stand of 74 to effectively bat India out of the game.

Even when Bell fell five overs from the end, Anil Kumble trapping him lbw on the sweep, India were unable to force a result - Ryan Sidebottom and Prior batting through without great alarm to deny the tourists.

SEE ALSO
England facing follow-on at Oval
11 Aug 07 |  England
India build towards strong total
09 Aug 07 |  England
India in England 2007
08 Jan 07 |  Cricket


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