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Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008

India-England day four as it happened

FIRST TEST, Chennai (day four, close):
England 316 & 311-9 dec v India 241 & 131-1
India need 387 to win

India turned the tables on England in dramatic fashion through a blistering innings from Virender Sehwag late on day four of the first Test in Chennai.

The hosts faced a massive target of 387 to win after England finally declared on 311-9, and Sehwag was out for 83 off 68 balls as India ended the day 131-1.

Earlier, Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss hit tons but England made just 57 runs between lunch and tea.

The highest score successfully chased to win a Test in India is 276.

LATEST ACTION (ALL TIMES GMT)

By Mark Mitchener

606: DEBATE
e-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Mark Mitchener' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)

1140: Right, as you may or may not be aware, we have had technical problems since around 1010 following a power cut which affected the servers and caused publishing delays. So, contrary to a few of your e-mailed suggestions, I didn't leg it after posting my last update at 1007 - the brief fluctuation in the electricity I mentioned in that paragraph obviously had a more profound effect than I expected!

We apologise for the interruption in service and hope it didn't spoil your enjoyment of the day's cricket too much. The afternoon session was pretty turgid for a while, but "Sehwag being Sehwag" is always entertaining to watch and made for an intriguing session to watch. I hope you'll be able to join me again tomorrow morning (play starts 0400 GMT) - and don't forget to tune into BBC Sports Personality of the Year this evening.

END OF DAY FOUR - INDIA NEED 387 TO WIN

1131 - Ind 131-1 (29 overs)
Last over, then - Gambhir slices Swann for a single past backward point, then two more singles off the last two deliveries mean India finish on 131-1 and Gambhir will face the first ball of day five.

"Brave start for India, but in all honesty, I see the middle order just knuckling down to save the test tomorrow rather than chase the target. England should keep the pressure, particularly with Flintoff's accurate line and length"
Vijan Raman in the TMS inbox

1128 - Ind 128-1 (28 overs)
Monty returns, Gambhir carefully off-drives him for four (and the time it takes to retrieve the ball may end hopes of sneaking another over in). A single means a field change for the right-handed Dravid, but we are going to get one last over in.

1125 - Ind 123-1 (27 overs)
Aggers admits "I wouldn't like to be nought not out overnight", noticing that Dravid is still yet to score. He pads up to Swann, there are inevitable shouts of "Catch it" as it may have hit his glove but it flies away safely. Dravid breaks his duck with a gentle single, which earns him a smattering of applause. Gambhir pinches the strike to reach 34. Aggers and Vic think we may just sneak two more overs in.

Get involved on 606
"The biggest danger could be if Dravid gets in and plays a anchor role, then India's attacking batsman could see them home?"
JohnnyFairPlay on 606
Join the debate on 606

1121 - Ind 121-1 (26 overs)
Flintoff has easily been England's most economical bowler today, and it's beginning to look as though Gambhir is camping in for the night. He has to duck a bouncer, but is otherwise untroubled, eventually flicking a two off his legs through mid-wicket.

Jonathan Agnew
"I think the crowd has shrunk by a third in the last 10 minutes"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

1117 - Ind 119-1 (25 overs)
Swann now has plenty of men around the bat - just one Gambhir single from the over.

1113 - Ind 118-1 (24 overs)
Another bonus for England is that Sehwag's dismissal has brought in Rahul Dravid, who's horribly out of form. Many fans now start leaving the stadium as Gambhir smears a single to reach 30 and Dravid survives his first ball.

Wicket falls
1108 - WICKET - Sehwag lbw b Swann 83 - Ind 117-1 (23 overs)
Gambhir nurdles a single off his legs down to Monty P, who is patrolling the long leg area. Swann goes over the wicket to the right-handed Sehwag, who then fluently swipes him over deep mid-wicket and into the crowd for six. He now has 83 from 67 balls (including four sixes) - then attempting another cross-batted paddle next ball, is trapped lbw by Swann and his virtuoso innings is ended. Umpire Harper's finger is finally raised, and Sehwag makes what may be a show of dissent as he reluctantly trudges off, swiping his bat through the air in an act which may well cost him a portion of his match fee if referee Jeff Crowe was watching - depending on how his bat-swipe is interpreted.

1104 - Ind 110-0 (22 overs)
Gambhir is still remaining cautious against Freddie, although a single takes him to 28. Flintoff bangs in a bouncer off the final delivery, which Sehwag ducks.

Get involved on 606
"Swann isn't helping himself by appealing for everything possible. all its going to do is annoy the umpires and make it less likely that theyll give someone out"
SinghSing on 606
Join the debate on 606

1100 - Ind 109-0 (21 overs)
Swann is bowling quite tightly against this pair, yielding just two singles from his fourth over.

"I bet everyone complaining about England not declaring early enough wish we'd batted on a bit now hey? Cricket fans are becoming as bad as footy fans for wanting results immediately. Brian, Dave, Chris W, yes, I'm talking to you"
Alex in the TMS inbox

1056 - Ind 107-0 (20 overs)
Sehwag steers yet another run to third man, Gambhir resumes his policy of not offering a shot to anything from Flintoff he doesn't have to.

The official close of play is 1100 GMT by the way, but we'll keep going until 1130 in a bid to make up some of the vast number of overs we won't have bowled today. (I say "we", I mean the players) - while Simon Mann on TMS is also concerned about the light.

1052 - Ind 106-0 (19 overs)
Gambhir runs three byes as he tries to work Swann off his pads, but the singles keep flowing for the Indian pair.

1047 - Ind 100-0 (18 overs)
Monty takes a rest with figures of 6-1-31-0 and Flintoff returns. Sehwag keeps the scoreboard moving with a single and after Gambhir rotates the strike with a single, Sehwag has to duck a bouncer. But he then lofts another four down to his favoured third man area to bring up the hundred for India.

"It says on BBC Sport that Strauss is the 10th Englishman to have scored two centuries in a Test. Who are the other nine? Have been looking on the internet, and cannot find out"
Jane, at my brother's house, Brussels, in the TMS inbox
[See my entry in this live text at 0537 - I named the other nine dual centurions - MM]

1042 - Ind 94-0 (17 overs)
After a single from Gambhir, Swann leaps up and down with an lbw appeal when Sehwag offers no shot and kicks the ball away... but gets no change from Mr Harper. Sehwag then flicks a two off his legs down to Anderson, who's fielding in the naughty corner at long leg after getting smashed around the park earlier. A single means he retains the strike, having now scored 68 off 53 balls.

1038 - Ind 90-0 (16 overs)
Gambhir takes a fresh guard against the Montster, but manages a single before Sehwag clips another loose delivery through wide mid-on for four.

Text in your views on 81111
"Sat here listening to TMS & text updates trying to explain cricket to my six-week-old daughter before her mid-morning bottle. Looking at 0430, have I left it to late to indoctrinate her in this fine sport?"
Ajp, Clevedon, via text on 81111

1032 - Ind 85-0 (15 overs)
Interesting move from KP - Freddie's off and off-spinner Graeme Swann comes on, so we have spin from both ends. He's going round the wicket to Gambhir, and immediately beats him with a viciously spinning delivery. Gambhir guides the next ball for a single to the point boundary, and the third umpire is called upon to determine whether the diving Flintoff touched the rope as he stopped the ball. It's signalled as four, to the crowd's delight. Gambhir then thrusts his pad forward, Prior collects the "catch" and England appeal... umpire Harper says no, despite replays suggesting it brushed pad, then glove, then helmet. He takes a single, and the players take drinks.

"I'm here in Seoul, South Korea where I don't think there's a 'stick of willow' in the whole country. Enjoying the live text with my kimshi soup!"
Reg in the TMS inbox

1027 - Ind 80-0 (14 overs)
Sehwag comes down the wicket to Monty, who fields well off his own bowling. Just for once, the Indian opener looks a little tied down against the Northants tweaker.

"All those decrying England's batting appear to be overlooking two rather pertinent points: (1) this is not an easy pitch to attack on, (2) the longer we allowed India to bat, the fewer risks they would have to take to get there. We've got 120+ overs to bowl them out and if we can't do it in that, we deserve to lose anyway"
Ian, Manchester (still awake), in the TMS inbox

1024 - Ind 80-0 (13 overs)
Gambhir resumes his cautious approach against Freddie, and plays out a maiden. It allows us to get our breath back too.

"Sehwag is obviously upset at the cancellation of the last two one-dayers, depriving him of the opportunity to cart our bowlers all round the park (again). Perhaps Pietersen should have to tried to drag the innings out until tea tomorrow to be on the safe side?"
Martin Horne, eating poached eggs on toast, Worcester, in the TMS inbox

1019 - Ind 80-0 (12 overs)
Sehwag swings the Montster for another four through mid-wicket, then heaves him for six over long-on. Monty's response is to bowl over the wicket into the rough, Gilo-style, with Ian Bell brought in as a helmeted short leg. Sehwag, by contrast, can then thrust his pads at anything pitching outside leg stump without any fear of being out lbw.

"The critics of Pietersen's 'failure to declare earlier' have no sense of Test match cricket. Captains who declare and get beaten are routinely flayed by one and all and rightly so. This target is just right in my opinion, eight hours to get a target that this Indian line-up will believe themselves capable of getting, but they will have to go for it. A smaller target in a longer time would have had them able to plod home without taking any risks. Good for KP, come on England!"
Paul in Spain in the TMS inbox

1015 - Ind 70-0 (11 overs)
Sehwag steers Freddie for a single. The Prestonian bowls round the wicket to the southpaw Gambhir, who is not tempted to play anything he doesn't have to.

Another stat (from TMS) - Sehwag has now overtaken Kapil Dev's record of 61 sixes in Tests, he now has 62.

"Oh ye of little faith... Monty will do the business (gulp!)"
Andrew in Addis Ababa, in the TMS inbox

That's 50
1011 - Ind 69-0 (10 overs)
Sehwag turns Monty off his legs to complete a thrilling half century off 32 balls - only three balls slower than the last such brutal assault I witnessed, when I was in Napier to watch New Zealand's Tim Southee carve Jimmy and Monty all around the park for his unbeaten 77 off 40 balls. Gambhir steers Monty for a couple, while the bearded left-arm spinner also has no luck with a couple of lbw appeals to Umpire Bananaman.

Stat attack: in terms of balls faced, that's the second fastest Test fifty ever by an Indian, and the ninth fastest ever by anyone.

"If I were looking to put some pressure on India and take a couple of quick wickets I wouldn't want to be opening with the wayward coupling of Harmison and Anderson. An embarrassingly inept start by the dynamic duo"
Marcus Haysom in the TMS inbox

1007 - Ind 67-0 (9 overs)
Flintoff is summoned to replace Harmy, and Colly - acknowledged to be England's best fielder - is sent to the third man boundary, on the basis that that's where a difficult Sehwag chance may fly. He prods a two through the covers, then a single off a no-ball takes him to 49 off 31 balls. Then there's an even more worrying moment as the lights and all the electricity in this room flickers for a second... Gambhir shoulders arms to the rest of the over.

"As an Englishman visiting Sydney I can tell you the Aussies are dreading a Pommie win. That said, after this start and KP's indecision, I think I need to start laying off some of my bets!"
Richard Mellor in the TMS inbox

1002 - Ind 63-0 (8 overs)
Shah's on for some more sub-fielding, we're not sure for whom he's on. Monty drops it short outside off stump, and Gambhir dismissively cuts him for four.

Jonathan Agnew
"Monty had a bit of a Basil Fawlty moment in the last over, leaping around like when Basil thrashes his car"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

0959 - Ind 59-0 (7 overs)
Harmison to continue, but Gambhir tips-and-runs a quick single to bring Sehwag back on strike... and he slashes another four through third man! Simon Mann fears Sehwag's brutal assault reminds him of Gordon Greenidge for the West Indies against England at Lord's in 1984 (when he hit an unbeaten 200 on the last day after David Gower declared).

Monty Panesar
0954 - Ind 54-0 (6 overs)
With Sehwag having smashed 36 off 20 balls, England need to stem the tide of runs - so bring on The Montster! Monty Panesar is summoned from long leg, bowling over the wicket to the left-handed Gambhir who gives him the charge and a mis-hit shot lands just safely wide of cover - they run three. And what does Monty do? Serve up a full toss which Sehwag launches over mid-wicket for six to bring the 50 partnership up in 33 balls! Then Sehwag's nearly caught as the ball spoons off an edge but between silly point and short cover
Download our masks of Monty and other cricket stars

0949 - DROPPED CATCH - Ind 45-0 (5 overs)
A brief interlude of what Henry Blofeld calls "ballsmanship" as Harmy asks umpire Harper whether the ball has gone out of shape already! Harper tells him to get on with it, and Sehwag dismissively on-drives him for his sixth four of the innings! Harmy bangs it in short, Sehwag tries to steer him over backward point where Alastair Cook gets his hands to it - and can't hold onto the chance! It goes for four. Sehwag then flashes at another outside off stump and it sails over third man for six! Sehwag being Sehwag, is he trying to win the game single-handedly tonight?!

"Interesting to see that the texts and emails from people overseas declare their enjoyment at this Ttest match but those from home are deriding it and even saying Twenty20 is better. Absence obviously makes the heart grow fonder. Or those at home can now only enjoy cricket in soundbites and not enjoy the full game"
OSJ, ex-expat, in the TMS inbox

0944 - Ind 31-0 (4 overs)
Gambhir nudges Jimmy for a single - what can Sehwag do against the "Burnley Express"? He can guide the ball between the slips and gully for yet another four! More of a deft one-day shot than a "hit-it-out-of-the-park" effort. A single takes him to 22.

"I guess if the ninth wicket to fall was Anderson's, Pietersen would have sent Monty in to support Prior, to add some more runs. I have to agree, this has not been an example of confident leadership from Pietersen. He blew an opportunity by not giving his bowlers at least four full sessions. India might still fold, but at the end of the day, it still is not a good decision"
Vishnu Varma in the TMS inbox

0939 - Ind 25-0 (3 overs)
Harmy is straight back on the field in time to bowl his over. But it's still Sehwag being Sehwag - he's up on his toes to flay Harmy through cover for four! The next ball is down the leg side, England appeal for a caught behind... umpire Harper shakes his head. Sehwag is undaunted, carving between the slips and gully for another four! But England are playing into his hands by banging it in short and wide.

"Re: Carol at 0726 - Yes I'm waiting for the arrival of our first child, still two weeks from due date but having an ultrasound to get a clearer picture of how big the baby really is! Mother-to-be sat in the aircon here in Brisbane while I'm in the study catching up on the cricket. She's an Aussie and I'm a Pom. Can't wait to hear what my work colleagues will make of an expected England victory on Indian soil after the Aussies' recent tussles with them"
Alex Tate in the TMS inbox

0934 - Ind 17-0 (2 overs)
A worrying sign - Harmison walked straight off the field after that over, and Owais Shah is on as a sub fielder. James Anderson takes the second over, and Sehwag soon has Shah into the action when he guides a two down to long leg. Then, as I like to say, it's "Sehwag being Sehwag" - he can't play any other way, he exquisitely finds the gap down to his favourite third man area for four. Then he smashes another one over gully to the same area! He also nicks the strike off the final ball.

"Mark, the slow motion over rate of the Indians is taking the mickey. My modest proposal: at the bottom of the scoreboard is the number of overs to be bowled and the number of minutes left in the session. Any overs left at the end of the session cost the fielding side 10 runs per unbowled over. Then watch the Indians suddenly find that the sightscreens don't need to be moved around that often! I'd love to know what Aggers thinks of this idea"
Arthur Reader in Sydney, in the TMS inbox

0929 - Ind 6-0 (1 over)
Harmy begins with two slips, a gully and a leg gully for Gambhir, before adding a third slip after the first ball. India are off the mark as Gambhir guides a two down to Monty P at long leg. The left-hander then flicks one off his hip, fairly fine, for four.

"Re: Carol in Portugal at 0726, I am sat in Cape Town with the missus due any minute with our first sprog. We've been debating boy's names and she is none too impressed with my suggestions of Beefy, Blowers or Goochy... and in fact asked why on earth I would consider dogs' names for our child. My brother Woosie is in Hong Kong with no internet access… he is missing your commentary more than most so this email is for him"
Ben Hertzberg in the TMS inbox

0924: We're ready to start again - Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag facing up to Steve Harmison.

"For Carol in Portugal [0726] I am an expectant grandparent for the second time, just as excited this time. Enjoy the experience, better than I ever imagined. For expats who like me need their TV sport fix, invest in a SlingBox at UK home or relative, provided you've got decent bandwidth where you are. Last month in Kosovo I watched rugby and soccer, the missus kept up with Strictly Come Dancing"
Rodney (back home in UK, will watch via SlingBox in Washington DC this week), in the TMS inbox

"We have just thrown away victory by batting on after tea - ridiculously slow scoring and disgraceful Indian timewasting means India will bat out tomorrow for the draw"
Brian in Siberia, in the TMS inbox

0918: So, what on earth was the point of batting on after tea? Except to waste half-an-hour of time when they could be potentially bowling at India?

Jonathan Agnew
"Last night, Monty was bowling and bowling here at one stump until it got dark - he knows that the best chance of England winning the match probably depends on him, as the conditions should be helpful"
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

Wicket falls
0915 - WICKET - Prior c Sehwag b Sharma 33 - Eng 311-9 declared (105.5 overs)
Prior can't force a slower ball from Sharma past the infield. But he then attempts a more unorthodox baseball-style smear to long-on which brings him a boundary. He tries another big hit and is caught at cover - and England have declared. So much for my "confident prediction" in the last over - so why was Monty padded up in the dressing room?

"Taking a break from essay-writing in Texas to check on the score (every two minutes if I'm honest). Excellent knock, Colly and Strauss - did you know that 108 is a mystical number in Tibetan Buddhism? I wonder if the Dalai Lama is watching this game!"
Richard Harrold, McAllen, Texas, in the TMS inbox

0911 - Eng 307-8 (105 overs)
I can confidently predict that England have no intention of declaring - last man Monty Panesar is padded up and helmeted in the dressing room, and is practising his forward defensive! A single takes Prior to 28, then Anderson prods-and-runs a very risky single, Prior would have been out by five or six yards if Yuvraj's throw had hit, but the throw is well wide. Aggers and Gus on TMS both suddenly recall Geoff Boycott's running between the wickets. Prior then manages to nick the strike.

Text in your views on 81111
"I'm with Chris W [0838]. This is embarrassing cricket - England for showing no intent, and India for their disgraceful over-rate. People wonder why crowds flock to Twenty20? Turgid stuff"
Dave, Gloucester, via text on 81111

0905 - Eng 304-8 (104 overs)
Ishant Sharma returns, he bangs one in well outside off stump and Prior cuts to the point boundary, where some rather lazy fielding by Yuvraj allows them to come back for a comfortable second. Prior gets an inside edge into his pad, but scampers the single.

Text in your views on 81111
"Come on Pietersen. Are you man or mouse? Rather declare than get bowled out for cheap"
Richard, lying in bed in Hampshire, via text on 81111

0900 - Eng 301-8 (103 overs)
Well, England are still batting - with James Anderson in at number 10. He ducks a bouncer from Zaheer to complete that over from before the interval.

TEA INTERVAL

0838 - WICKET - Harmison b Zaheer 1 - Eng 301-8 (102.5 overs)
Prior rocks back and pulls Zaheer to the square leg boundary and they walk a single. Harmy digs out a couple of yorkers but then has his middle stump removed by Zaheer. And because a wicket has fallen in what was deemed to be the last over before the interval, they'll take tea immediately.

So, in that two-hour session, we had 22.5 overs, 57 runs and five wickets. Woo hoo. Time for a sandwich.

Text in your views on 81111
"This is maddening, if India can score 360+ batting last here I will bare my backside in Woolies window. If Woolies still exists. Declare!"
Chris W, Stafford, via text on 81111

0833 - Eng 300-7 (102 overs)
After a single from Prior, Dhoni brings in a leg gully to cut out Harmison's favourite sweep shot. Harmy's hit on the pad, Harbhajan appeals, it's always worth a shout with Daryl Harper... but it may have done too much and Harmy survives. The Durham man is never afraid to have a slog, and is eventually off the mark with a lofted slog-sweep which brings him a single to long leg. Prior brings up the 300 with a single - which as the TMS crew admit, looked a long way off at 43-3.

"Re: Rhys (0717) - Strauss is indeed the second-highest scoring Test player since his debut. He now has 4,405 runs to Ponting's 4,446, although Ponting has got there in fewer innings"
Ash in the TMS inbox

0828 - Eng 297-7 (101 overs)
New batsman is Steve Harmison who defends his first ball.

Vic Marks
"For the game's sake, I would like England to lose their next three wickets quickly, for the addition of about 20 runs - so all four results are possible. Prior's done well - he has only scored 21 but this is worth about 50 if he was playing at Hove on a nice sunny afternoon"
Vic Marks on TMS

Wicket falls
0826 - WICKET - Swann b Zaheer 7 - Eng 297-7 (100.5 overs)
Left-arm seamer Zaheer is still bowling round the wicket, in the manner of Wasim Akram - ready to slant one in and get an lbw decision at any moment. After a single from Prior, Swann smashes one off his legs for a well-run two - and then has his leg stump knocked over while playing a loose shot to the next ball.

"I am an Irishman living in Budapest who has supported England since the 1980s series against the Windies with Greenidge, Haynes, Lloyd, Kallicharan et al ( I do also support Ireland!). It's 8am in Budapest and I've been checking the score on TMS throughout the night (the laptop is on the bed between my wife and me). Limited overs/Twenty20 is great but can never compare to Test cricket such as this... brilliant! Well done Strauss and Collingwood and the English bowlers and Pietersen, Cook and Prior and all the players on a fantastic team effort so far!"
David in the TMS inbox

0822 - DROPPED CATCH - Eng 294-6 (100 overs)
Prior is trying to push the score along here, but seems only capable of scoring in singles so far. He and Swann add a couple of ones, then Prior makes me eat my words by giving himself room and smashing a four through wide mid-off. First boundary for 18 overs, reveals the Bearded Wonder. Prior then tries to prod past Gambhir at short leg... but the helmeted Indian opener puts the chance down. The lead is 369, and 12th man Stuart Broad comes on with a couple of towels and some water.

0819 - Eng 287-6 (99 overs)
England are rather bogged down here - and are going to kick themselves if their slow progress here means they run out of overs trying to bowl India out tomorrow. Prior reaches 14 with another single, Zaheer raps Swann on the pad but the smirking Umpire Bananaman shakes his head.

"Watching the live text with some Indian colleagues here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ah, it's good to be alive!"
Yorkshire Dave in the TMS inbox

0815 - Eng 286-6 (98 overs)
Another Prior single brings Swann on strike against fellow off-spinner Harbhajan. He clips one in the air towards mid-on... but it falls safely.

Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan dressed as Bananaman
0809 - Eng 285-6 (97 overs)
Prior moves to 11 with a pulled single to deep mid-wicket as the lead reaches 356. Swann clubs a three through the covers but Prior nicks the strike again Billy B, post-banana, is suddenly all smiles - maybe he has a secret identity as Bananaman?

Bill Frindall
"No side has scored more than 276 in a fourth innings to win a Test in India, although there was a tied Test when the side scored 347"
TMS scorer Bill Frindall

0805 - Eng 280-6 (96 overs)
Clearly England have no intention of declaring as Steve Harmison is padded up while Cap'n KP is in vest, shorts and flipflops rather than his whites. Prior steers another single, Swann is off the mark (and doubles his career Test run aggregate) with a single, and the Sussex man keeps the strike.

0802 - Eng 277-6 (95 overs)
New batsman is Graeme Swann, and part of me can't help but feel that if England are bowled out fairly cheaply here, it's not the worst thing in the world for their hopes of winning the game - at least once they're out in the field, they'll be in control of how fast the overs are bowled, rather than India slowing the game down completely as they've done since lunch. Swann sees off the rest of the over.

"It was said before this game that Strauss had not played for a while. His performance in this game might suggest that's a good thing. Question: do the top guys play too much cricket? We need quality, not quantity"
Roger in Denmark in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
0757 - WICKET - Collingwood lbw b Zaheer 108 - Eng 277-6 (94.1 overs)
The Banana Jinx strikes - Zaheer slants one in to Colly and Billy B (with a fresh boost of potassium and vitamin B6 from that banana) lifts his crooked finger to give him out lbw!

Bananas
0755 - Eng 277-5 (94 overs)
While Prior steers a three through the covers, umpire Billy Bowden is eating a banana while stood at square leg! I kid you not! Colly and Prior manage a single apiece off Harbhajan, but BB now has a problem - what does he do with the banana skin? He carefully folds it into his trouser pocket for the time being. Colly steers another two to third man, and fourth umpire Rajiv Rosodkar has to scamper on at the end of the over to remove Billy's banana peel.

0750 - Eng 269-5 (93 overs)
Despite a lengthy drinks break, India then feel the need to mess around with the field for another few minutes before they resume. GET ON WITH IT! Colly and Prior manage a single apiece as the slow over-rate continues.

Meanwhile, after the TMS team discuss Strictly Come Dancing, Aggers bemoans the absence of our old friend Sree Santh (the young, excitable pace bowler) from the current India side. In the absence of any vaguely interesting cricket at the moment (frankly it's as dull as ditchwater), a colleague recently sent me a link to a certain well-known video website where you can watch Sree Santh himself showing off his dancing skills!
INTERNET LINK: Sree Santh shows off his dance moves on YouTube

0742 - Eng 267-5 (92 overs)
Prior is trying to be positive against Harbhajan but can't beat the ring of four close fielders before eventually guiding a single past leg slip. Colly guides another to the same area, and they'll take drinks, despite having only bowled 12 overs in the hour since lunch.

"On a train from Nanjing to Shanghai, the woman beside me has just spilt her green tea down my leg. Get the feeling England can win this one!"
David, China in the TMS inbox
[You could try reading the tea-leaves on your leg and see which result they predict! MM]

0738 - Eng 265-5 (91 overs)
Now Billy B's not happy with the sightscreen - one of the ground staff has been lurking where they shouldn't be. Colly chops a single down to third man, Prior adds another and Harbhajan is back on the field.

Text in your views on 81111
"Good morning from a Taff in Lviv, Ukraine, going home today so I will watch the final day from the comfort of my armchair"
Anonymous, via text on 81111

0732 - Eng 263-5 (90 overs)
Harbhajan has four men around the bat but several in the deep for Prior. Just for once, he's relatively quickly through a maiden over - but then dashes off the field.

"Before we get too carried away on the Ashes let's not forget the Aussies dominated the first Test in India before losing the series!"
Stuart in Sydney in the TMS inbox

0729 - Eng 263-5 (89 overs)
New batsman is Matt Prior, fresh from his first-innings half century and the Sussex stumper is off the mark with a single. The lead is 338.

Wicket falls
0726 - WICKET - Flintoff c Dhoni b Sharma 4 - Eng 262-5 (88.4 overs)
Fred advances down the track to Sharma but has to duck a bouncer, which brings a cheer from the Chennai crowd. But the cheer is even louder when he hangs his bat out and nicks one behind to Dhoni.

"Congrats to Bob (0430). I'm waiting for my first grandchild, already five days overdue. Baby's mother was two weeks late herself, so she's getting what she deserves. Makes life difficult to plan though. Any other expectant parents/grandparents out there?"
Carol in Portugal (loving the live text since we've not got TMS or Sky) in the TMS inbox

0723 - Eng 262-4 (88 overs)
Flintoff tries to guide Harbhajan to leg but he whacks it straight at short-leg Gambhir, who looks in pain. More obvious delaying tactics as Gambhir calls for the physio to come on, while Flintoff - who's been batting all of 10 minutes - signals for a drink! I ask you! When we eventually resume, Fred steers a jogged single to long-on, while Simon Hughes on TMS enthuses about the quality of the fish curry he had at lunch today. Two more singles extend the lead to 337.

"Just left hospital in Hong Kong and am delighted to have Test Match Special on text while I recover in my hotel room -- time for some more English tea. We need a few more runs before declaring"
Christopher in the TMS inbox

0717 - Eng 259-4 (87 overs)
India are still persisting with the old ball ("it's very ragged - not even something you'd give your dog, although it looks like it's been chewed by a dog", says Simon Hughes on TMS), and Flintoff takes a single as the ball rebounds off bowler Sharma's ankle.

"Strauss is a legend. Can any of your stat men tell me if I am right in thinking that Strauss has scored the second most runs in Test cricket since his debut in 2004? Only behind Ricky Ponting? Some going if so..."
Rhys in Kazakhstan, in the TMS inbox

0711 - Eng 258-4 (86 overs)
Having sat in his pads for 72 overs while Strauss and Colly compiled that stand of 214, the new batsman is Andrew Flintoff who steers a single off his legs.

Simon Hughes
"When Collingwood first came into the England one-day side, I didn't think he would make it as a Test player, but he's proved me and a lot of people wrong. Flintoff may have come in at the right time, as England need to put their foot on the gas"
Simon Hughes, aka "The Analyst", on TMS

Wicket falls
He's reached 100
0707 - WICKET - Strauss c Laxman b Harbhajan 108 - Eng 257-4 (85.2 overs)
Umpire Daryl Harper has a word with India captain Dhoni - hopefully about the over-rate, which has slowed noticeably since lunch. Harbhajan tosses one up outside off stump, Colly shovels it off his hip for a single and that's his seventh Test hundred! He looks as happy as his fellow Sunderland fans did after their 4-0 win yesterday. But the very next ball, Harbhajan tosses another one up and Strauss guides it straight into the hands of VVS Laxman at short extra cover!

0704 - Eng 256-3 (85 overs)
Colly flashes a square cut, but can't beat the man on the cover boundary and they can only run one, so he has 99. Can he do it next over?

Text in your views on 81111
"Watching England do to India what the Aussies couldn't manage. On my travels round the world - currently in Perth, Australia"
John Smyth from Derby, via text on 81111

Vic Marks
"England just need to get Collingwood to that hundred - then they'll have licence to smash it about. But it's not easy against quality bowlers who will be bowling slowly, and wide"
Vic Marks on TMS

0659 - Eng 255-3 (84 overs)
Strauss tries an audacious reverse sweep against Bhajji but fails to make contact. He and Colly exchange singles - the Durham ginger ninja now has 98.

"I'm an Englishman living in California and BBC Sport gives me a much needed touch of Englishness... Straussy and Colly you have done us proud i have just explained to my American girlfriend what Strauss has just achieved and even she was impressed!"
Ed, San Jose, in the TMS inbox
[I would therefore presume that if asked, you DO know the way to San Jose... MM]

0655 - Eng 253-3 (83 overs)
Colly gets a bottom edge off Sharma and they run a quick two to stretch the overall lead to 328 as the sun comes out again in Chennai.

"Sitting in my village - Natavea - in Fiji and cheering like mad for England with the help of my wonderful mobile phone. I really think the English can do it"
Vili in the TMS inbox
How to get cricket news and scores on your mobile

0651 - Eng 251-3 (82 overs)
Harbhajan to continue at the VP Gate End. A single takes Colly to 94, then Strauss expertly guides a shorter ball past the solitary slip for four. A single takes him to 107 and England to 250 - this is now England's highest fourth-wicket partnership (207) in India. Colly sweeps for a single to keep the strike.

"On a hot day in Perth, TMS and a few cold beers are a great excuse for inactivity"
Phil Robson in the TMS inbox

0646 - Eng 244-3 (81 overs)
As before, the players take the field on time... only for everyone to wait around for two to three minutes while India move the fielders around. Ishant Sharma is back in the attack, and Aggers is concerned that with a predominantly off-side field set up, India may well do as they did against Australia in that recent Test - and bowl well outside off stump, inviting Strauss to chase anything. It's a maiden over.

Jonathan Agnew
"England need to press on a little now if they're really to threaten India"
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on TMS

"It's so refreshing to see England doing well where Australia struggled. Perhaps we should play the Ashes on pitches less suited to the Aussies' strengths. I'm always surprised that we don't use home advantage to its fullest extent. PS Who's in the 'Collingwood needs to go' camp this week then?"
Rick T, Dubai, in the TMS inbox

Text in your views on 81111
"Hi Mark, interested to know if any other Scots are up watching this game? Great effort Strauss. Colly to get a ton. England declare. Game on"
Gary, Edinburgh, via text on 81111

LUNCH INTERVAL

0600 - Eng 244-3 (80 overs)
Harbhajan gets one to spit like a cobra out of the rough outside Colly's off stump, it hits him on the glove and only just falls safely wide of slip. But the Durham man survives with his wicket intact, and it's time for lunch. Another good session for the England pair (72 runs in 26 overs), the lead is now 319. Mr Brett and I are going to scour BBC TV Centre for some grub - back with you soon.

"Please tell Macca (0503, looking for a bar in New York showing the cricket) to try Eight Mile Creek (240 Mulberry Street in SoHo) or Baker Street (1152 1st Avenue on the Upper East Side). Sounds like England's batting is dull but effective; unfortunately, my Property Law revision is just dull"
James, Brooklyn, NY, in the TMS inbox

0556 - Eng 244-3 (79 overs)
After just two overs yesterday (and claiming the wicket of England captain Kevin Pietersen, no less), Yuvraj Singh returns to the attack with his orthodox left-arm spin. But a poor long-hop is summarily despatched to the mid-wicket boundary by Colly to bring up the 200 partnership. He then cuts a single to deep cover, and reaches 93.

"Mark - I'm a USA-based Brit here in Chennai on business, attending my first Test since Jim Laker took 19 at Old Trafford! Loving every minute of this one. Strauss's innings will enter the history books too!"
Richard Webb (Delaware, USA) at the ground in Chennai, in the TMS inbox

0553 - Eng 239-3 (78 overs)
Harbhajan returns to face down Colly, who has 86 and nudges another single. Strauss sweeps and they walk a single, he's been at the crease for 12 hours in this match now - and as the TMS crew have pointed out, he's been on the field for nearly the whole game. Colly jabs another single.

Get involved on 606
"Great effort by Strauss but still think we could do with another 60-70. if Sehwag and Gambhir stay in they'll whittle any lead down very quickly"
Etienne123 on 606
Join the debate on 606

0549 - Eng 236-3 (77 overs)
More stats from Mr Brett: this is now the biggest fourth-wicket stand (191) by any team in Chennai. Strauss works one off his legs, Colly steers a simple single to long-off.

Simon Hughes
"I had a rickshaw driver this morning who was so keen to pick me up that he did a U-turn in the middle of a six-lane highway"
Former Middlesex and Durham seamer Simon Hughes, aka "The Analyst", on TMS

0545 - Eng 234-3 (76 overs)
Zaheer smiles with frustration as he just misses Colly's stumps with a yorker. He then slings one in well outside leg stump, which Colly had no hope of reaching, but umpire Harper is strangely reluctant to signal it as a wide. Another maiden.

"Morning Mark, I've just sailed around Cape Horn and I am enjoying your excellent coverage while I shelter in Ushuaia. Keep up the good work!"
Saul in the TMS inbox

0541 - Eng 234-3 (75 overs)
Will Strauss hit out now he's got his ton? He fences and misses at one from Mishra that keeps low and turns late - encouraging for Monty Panesar in the fourth innings? Maiden over.

He's reached 100
0537 - Eng 234-3 (74 overs)
Andrew Strauss on 99 - can he do it this over? A slower ball outside off stump from the wily Zaheer is left well alone, then finally there's one on leg stump which Strauss guides away for a single - that's his 14th Test hundred, off 213 balls with seven fours. The Middlesex man punches the air in delight and lifts his bat into the air. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman also sportingly congratulate him.

Stat attack: he's the 10th England player to score a century in each innings of a Test match but the 11th occurrence, as Herbert Sutcliffe did it twice. He's the first to do it in Asia. The other dual centurions were CAG ("Jack") Russell, Wally Hammond, Eddie Paynter, Denis Compton, Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick.

"Stuck on the runway in a delayed plane from Delhi to Mumbai, annoyingly late for my mid-day expat brunch, TMS text updates keep me calm and on the edge of seat"
Kevin Woolmer in the TMS inbox
How to get cricket news and scores on your mobile

0532 - Eng 233-3 (73 overs)
Right, Strauss has kindly delayed reaching his hundred to allow Long Wave listeners to return, but he's not on strike until Colly on-drives Mishra for a single. A nudged single off his legs takes Strauss to 99.

"To Bob [0430], congrats on the new baby, but be warned, the 4am wake up palls rather when they are still doing it 18 months later!"
Nigel in the TMS inbox

0529 - Eng 231-3 (72 overs)
More messy keeping by Dhoni as he fails to take one cleanly from Zaheer down the leg side, but at least avoids more byes. Zaheer then rather startles Colly with some "chin music" which Colly has to sway out of the way of, at the last minute. Colly tries to fend off another bouncer, which sails through the vacant second slip area and they run one, signalled as a leg-bye by Harper so Collingwood still has 84.

0525 - Eng 230-3 (71 overs)
Colly pushes Mishra for a singleton to point, Strauss edges to 96 with a single off his legs. Dhoni then misses one down the leg side which shoots away for four byes. Colly rotates the strike again, then Strauss tries to sweep, he's nearly caught by Dravid at leg slip, but it just flies over his head and they run two. 98 for Lord Brocket.

"Were you aware that on all 13 occasions on which Strauss has reached three figures in a Test, he has ended up being caught? Not a run-out, lbw or for that matter any other mode of dismissal in his whole career as a Test centurion. That's just plain weird, if you ask me. He will probably prove me wrong today by ending not out or being bowled or something - but if he does so after making a match-winning ton, who cares about the death of a freakish statistical anomaly? Yours, suffering in bed with a dose of flu"
Tim Haveron Jones, Maidenhead, in the TMS inbox

0520 - Eng 221-3 (70 overs)
Colly jabs Zaheer for a single, but Strauss is stuck in the nervous nineties and BBC R4 Long Wave listeners are cast adrift for the Shipping Forecast.

"I'm currently watching episode 10 of Merlin on iPlayer (what a fantastic series that is - well done Beeb) and then I'll be able to give you my undivided attention - so please stick with me and try to make sure we don't lose any wickets - ta!"
Andrew from Camelot in the TMS inbox
Watch Merlin on the BBC iPlayer

0515 - Eng 220-3 (69 overs)
Strauss tries to nudge Mishra down to fine leg and they run three, but Billy B belatedly signals leg-byes. Colly goes aerial with a lofted on-drive, but it's a first-bounce four to the long-on boundary which takes him to 80.

Text in your views on 81111
"I am going for England to reach 250, Colly and Strauss with a century, then a 10 to 15-over slog fest followed by the declaration"
John in Hull, via text on 81111

0511 - Eng 212-3 (68 overs)
Colly nudges Zaheer for a single to bring Strauss on strike - he's on 94, and a single takes him to 95. And Jerome Taylor's out - he's been "cursed" by my match-report colleague Oliver Brett, who switched channels during the drinks break to take a look at Taylor's batting, only to see him immediately caught behind off Vettori for 106.

"Re: Sam's comment about it possibly being your fault [0335] - so you get the blame whilst your more 'flashy' colleagues get away scot free? Sounds like you are the live text version of Colly..."
Ian, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

New Zealand v West Indies
0505: While England and India take a drinks break, in contrast to the pedestrian scoring rate in Chennai, over in New Zealand the Windies are going great guns in Dunedin. Incredibly, pace bowler Jerome Taylor (previous highest first-class score: 40), has hit a hundred off 97 balls! He's even overtaken Chanderpaul, who's dropped anchor as usual.
Live scorecard: New Zealand v West Indies

0503 - Eng 210-3 (67 overs)
It's a double change as Harbhajan is replaced by leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Colly opens the face to tickle a single to third man, he and Strauss keep pushing some easy singles (with associated sightscreen and fielder moves to slow the over-rate).

Text in your views on 81111
"In NY trying to find a bar showing the cricket - think I have two hopes of finding one! Anyone have an idea of a channel?"
Macca, via text on 81111

0458 - Eng 205-3 (66 overs)
Our first bowling change of the day as Sharma is replaced by left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan. Strauss swings and misses, but they run a bye as the ball ricochets off keeper Dhoni's pads. Zaheer goes round the wicket to Colly, there's a huge lbw shout off his first ball but umpire Harper signals a leg-bye. Hawk-Eye suggests the inswinger may have just brushed Colly's leg stump - a let-off?

Vic Marks
"Dhoni still has three men round the bat, but the rest of the field are spread so wide that Strauss and Collingwood, who are both pragmatic, can keep pushing the ones and twos everywhere they like"
Vic Marks on TMS

0453 - Eng 203-3 (65 overs)
"Shot of the day" contender from Strauss as Harbhajan fizzes one in a little shorter and a beautifully-timed cut through point brings Strauss four, taking England to 200 and himself to 91. A single increased England's lead to 276 as the Chennai crowd begin to find their voices, cheering on India. Colly then attempts a cut shot of his own and they run a couple.

"So, where would I rather be? Up at 4am in cold wet UK? Or in Chennai in the sun watching this beauty of a game? Actually it's worse than that: I've actually been up since 2am because I am staying at my folks' place for a few days with the wife and kids, and the wife and my mum aren't talking (what's new there?) and one of the kids woke me up at 2am and I couldn't get back to sleep. So, Mark, make England win!"
Mark, Knutsford (Beaconsfield this weekend), in the TMS inbox

0448 - Eng 196-3 (64 overs)
An attempted slower ball from Sharma results in a beamer, it appears to hit Colly just above waist high but he fends it off for a single as Sharma holds his hand up in apology. A TV replay shows Sharma's foot was nearly a yard over the line, but umpire Harper fails to no-ball Sharma either for the beamer or for overstepping! Come on, Daryl, wake up! Strauss eventually clips Ishant off his legs and they scamper three to the mid-wicket boundary.

Vic Marks
"Once England have reached what they think is an 'impregnable' position, someone will play a few shots, but we haven't reached that stage yet"
Former Somerset and England off-spinner Vic Marks on TMS

0443 - Eng 192-3 (63 overs)
Colly turns Harbhajan for a single off his legs, while we have the rare pleasure of our first "two" of the day from Strauss. Bhajji switches to bowling over the wicket to Strauss, but the first ball from that side is delicately leg-glanced (very fine) for four. The lead is now 267.

0437 - Eng 185-3 (62 overs)
Another single from Colly takes this partnership to 142, but even under the hot Chennai sun, neither side looks like breaking sweat. Surely the first three days were more exciting for Sam than the last turgid half-hour has been?

"I'm stuck in Denton, a small town outside Dallas, with nothing to do until I leave for England on Monday! I have been reduced to looking forward to a message from Lancs and the occasional, unrivalled joy of a boundary! I will sit back with a poor quality American beer in my boxers and vest and wait with baited breath for updates... don't tell my girlfriend"
Henry, Texas, in the TMS inbox
[Unless she's reading this, I think your secret's safe with us - MM]

0433 - Eng 184-3 (61 overs)
My "gaffer" this morning, Alistair Watkins, has found a stash of mince pies next to our office fridge - good times. Harbhajan bowls round the wicket to Strauss, who nudges a single off his legs, while Aggers reveals he's been troubled by a dog barking and howling at the moon outside his hotel room every night for the last week. A Colly single takes the lead to 259.

0430 - Eng 182-3 (60 overs)
As Gus on TMS recalls beating Vic Marks in a tuk-tuk race yesterday, we belatedly have our first four of the day as Colly guides Sharma off his hip and it sails to the rope. He now has 66.

"Hey Mark, I've just had my first baby - Emily Jane Easton, 12 days old. And I would just like to mention a jolly good morning to all those other dads who suddenly are quite happy to take up the 4am feed. My best to you and Gus Fraser (A friend)"
Bob in the TMS inbox
[Congratulations - make sure you start the cricket indoctrination of young Emily at an early stage! MM]

0425 - Eng 178-3 (59 overs)
Aggers and Gus on TMS would love umpires Harper and Bowden to chivvy the teams along with the over-rate, but Billy B is called into action when Strauss tries to hit Harbhajan to leg and even a not-particularly-loud appeal for a bat-pad catch from the Indian fielders is referred up to the third umpire. Thankfully, the first TV replay clearly shows the ball was hit into the ground. An impromptu drinks break (mid-over!) is held while the matter is referred, but that's a maiden over.

0421 - Eng 178-3 (58 overs)
A "good leave" from Strauss, says Simon Mann on TMS, as Sharma slants one in at the Middlesex man which nips back past him. Summariser Angus Fraser recalls being bowled middle stump by Worcestershire's Phil Newport while padding up in similar circumstances. Strauss nicks the strike off the last ball - that's six runs from four overs, all singles. Pretty pedestrian stuff.

"Good morning Mark. I'm a first-time writer to TMS and probably the only English supporter in this region. Now sitting at my office desk in the southern Indian city of Trivandrum, what I would like to see is a Strauss 150+ score and Colly 100+ score that will propel England to a famous win"
Anoop SK, Trivandrum, in the TMS inbox[Welcome! MM]

0416 - Eng 177-3 (57 overs)
Colly late-cuts a single, Strauss pushes another, but we're still having hold-ups with the sightscreens. No-one at the ground looks in any hurry (batsmen, fielders, ground staff).

"I am 100% ready for today's play. It may have taken me until the 4th day of the Test but I have completely altered my sleeping pattern and am now nocturnal. Thanks must go in part to the massive essays that had to be handed in on Friday and a lack of any lectures until Wednesday which have allowed me to make this commitment. It's good to be back, Mark"
Rachel Gamble, Normandy, France, in the TMS inbox

0412 - Eng 175-3 (56 overs)
After more lengthy field-shuffling, it's a different angle of attack from the other end as paceman Ishant Sharma - whose hair is now merely approaching "mullet" status rather than being really, really long - is guided for another quick single by Strauss. Colly is hit on the pad, but a thin inside edge gets his first run of the day. Play is then held up twice - firstly by a problem with the sightscreen, then by Sharma pulling out of his run-up. If the first 12 minutes of play are anything to go by, we're in for another day of miserably slow over-rates - as Aggers pointed out in his column after yesterday's play. Two overs in 12 minutes (and one of them from a spinner)?
Jonathan Agnew column: The verdict on day three

0406 - Eng 173-3 (55 overs)
After some lengthy field placings delay the start for the first three allotted minutes of the day, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh begins proceedings - he has a slip and a short leg in for Strauss, and he immediately gets the scoreboard ticking with a single off his legs. Colly carefully sees off the rest of the over as Bhajji gets some slow turn.

0359: The umpires are emerging, while India captain Mahendra Dhoni is in full Michael Vaughan mode - he has his fielders in a pre-match "huddle" before they jog to the middle, followed by Strauss and Colly.

New Zealand v West Indies
0355: A quick note from elsewhere in the world of cricket - it's tea on day four in the rain-affected Test in Dunedin, where the West Indies are 253-6 in reply to New Zealand's 365. Daniel Vettori's beard looks heavier than ever.
Live scorecard: New Zealand v West Indies

"We were beaten by a side on top of their game in the one-day series, but all we need here is two good days of Test cricket and hopefully we can get the right result"
England's Paul Collingwood speaks to TMS's Alison Mitchell

"It's just gone 9am in Mumbai, and the police academy brass band have finished 90 minutes of practising carols outside my window. All I want for Christmas is a Strauss-Colly double ton and an England win!"
Tom Rose in the TMS inbox

0351: The TMS crew are up and running - and despite rumours of heavy showers, Simon Mann informs listeners that it's sunny in Chennai and we're set to begin on time.

0345: Right, here's the match situation. England are 172-3 in their second innings - and with a first-innings lead of 75, that makes them "net" 247-3. Despite Messrs Cook, Bell and Pietersen making just 17 between them in this innings, Andrew Strauss has followed his first-innings century with 73 not out, while Paul Collingwood has forged his way to 60 not out.

0335: Morning, everyone. After three days of sterling service, Sam "The" Lyon gets a proper night's sleep (hey, The Lyon Sleeps Tonight! See what I've done there?!) while I take over live text duties for the last two days of the match.

Sam signed off after yesterday's close of play by saying that "Mark Mitchener will be in the commentary chair for the last two days and frankly, if England don't win, it's his fault". So I have a lot to live up to...

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see also
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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