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Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Batsmen restore India's control

Second Test, Mohali (day four, close):
India 453 & 134-4 v England 302

Dates: 19-23 December Start time: 0400 GMT (0330 GMT on Tuesday)
Coverage: Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW and BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, live text commentary on BBC Sport website, and live on Sky Sports 1

By David Ornstein

Gautam Gambhir and James Anderson
Gambhir lost four partners but held India's innings together admirably

Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh kept India in control of the second Test despite England's impressive bowling display on day four in Mohali.

Following a fog-delayed start, England resumed on 282-6 in reply to India's 453 but they were bowled out for 302 as Harbhajan Singh finished with 4-68.

The tourists fought back to reduce India to 44-3 and then 80-4.

But Gambhir (44no) and the explosive Yuvraj (39no) guided the hosts to 134-4 at the close, a lead of 285.

With his side having offered such a poor display with the bat, England captain Kevin Pietersen will have been delighted by the way they performed in the field.

But the arrival of Yuvraj, their nemesis in the abandoned one-day-series, allowed India to reassert their authority going into day five.

A draw remains the most likely result and that would be enough to seal the series for India, who are 1-0 in the two-Test series after their victory in Chennai.

For the second successive day, thick fog meant the start of play was delayed considerably and it was not until 0530 GMT, two hours late, that the players and umpires came to the middle.

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That gave England, who lost the crucial wickets of Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff late on day four, plenty of time to focus on the task ahead.

It was vital that nightwatchman James Anderson and Matt Prior batted cautiously to see England through the opening exchanges and, if possible, guide them towards India's first-innings 453.

But such hopes were banished when Prior clipped the first ball of the third over, from Harbhajan, into the hands of wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni when attempting to work it through the leg side.

Keavin Pietersen
Pietersen will hope his side can hold on for a draw on day five

India sensed England were there for the taking and they made further inroads when Broad shouldered arms to a straight delivery in Harbhajan's next over and it went on to knock back the left-hander's off stump.

Zaheer Khan then bowled Graeme Swann with a sumptuous in-swinger before Harbhajan had Monty Panesar caught at short leg by Gambhir.

Openers Gambhir and Virender Sehwag were forced to navigate two potentially tricky overs before lunch but they did so comfortably, Gambhir flicking Anderson for two fours as India reached the interval on 9-0.

But England seemed to come out for the afternoon session with a spring in their step and although India kept the scoreboard ticking over, the tourists were rewarded with the wicket of Sehwag.

The 30-year-old attempted to take a quick single off Broad with a drive that the bowler deflected to Ian Bell, who came in from short extra cover to drive at the stumps and complete the run out.

A period of slow scoring ensued as Rahul Dravid, still lacking fluency despite his first-innings 136, looked nervous in the face some aggressive but disciplined seam bowling.

TMS Close of Play - Second Test, day four

England did all they could to keep Dravid on strike and the tactic paid off handsomely when he fell for a duck off 19 balls - Broad getting one to nip back off the seam, keep low and clatter the former captain's middle stump.

Captain Pietersen tried to maintain the pressure by deploying an attacking field to Sachin Tendulkar, which looked as though it might backfire when the world's highest run-scorer beautifully drove Broad wide of mid-off to the rope.

But that failed to dishearten a vibrant England and they soon had their man when Tendulkar (five off 22 balls) steered Anderson to Swann at gully.

It capped a tremendous session for the tourists, who took three wickets for 47 runs in 23 overs, but at tea India had ground their way to 56-3, a lead of 207.

VVS Laxman, fresh from his first-innings duck, was struggling to find any sort of rhythm but dug in as he and Gambhir steadied the innings.

Laxman laced Panesar to the cover boundary for the first four in 12.2 overs but soon succumbed as a mix up between the batsmen saw Flintoff and wicketkeeper Prior combine to run the right-hander out.

Unfortunately for England that brought Yuvraj to the crease and he signalled his intent with two fours off Panesar in the first over he faced.

Pietersen's decision to stick with spinners Panesar and Swann allowed Yuvraj to open up but, at the other end, Yuvraj was fortunate to survive when Alastair Cook at silly point could not take a difficult chance low to his left.

Yuvraj responded by clubbing Panesar for a six over deep mid-wicket and four through the covers in the following over as India ended on a high.

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see also
Broad urges England to fight on
22 Dec 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
22 Dec 08 |  England
India rally after Pietersen ton
21 Dec 08 |  England
India duo leave England trailing
20 Dec 08 |  England
England crushed by Tendulkar ton
15 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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