Mon, Aug 13, 2007 - Page 19 News List

England face follow-on in third Test

AP , LONDON

India bowler Zaheer Khan, front, celebrates taking the wicket of England batsman Ryan Sidebottom on the third day of the third Test between England and India at The Oval cricket ground in London, England, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

England were reduced to 326 for nine wickets by India on Saturday and left facing defeat in the third Test.

India led England by 338 runs at the close of the third day, leaving the home side still 139 short of avoiding the follow-on at The Oval.

Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Ryan Sidebottom and Matt Prior all fell in the final session, leaving tailenders Chris Tremlett (14) and Monty Panesar (0) at the crease heading into the penultimate day of the match.

Collingwood, Bell and Alastair Cook all hit half centuries, but none were able to turn a promising start into the big total that could have saved their team.

England trail 1-0 in the three-Test series and need to win to avoid its first home series defeat against any side since 2001. India have not won a series in England since 1986, but any hope England had of salvaging the match after India's mammoth first-innings 664 all but disappeared on Saturday.

"We've played good cricket over three days," India captain Rahul Dravid said. "We've really dominated this Test match and it's about us going out to finish it off."

England resumed the day on 24-1 with Cook and nightwatchman James Anderson at the crease, but Anil Kumble, who hit his first Test hundred on Friday, took two wickets in the first session to have the home side struggling on 124-4 at lunch.

Anderson was out leg before wicket to Rudra Pratap Singh before Kumble had Cook caught by Singh for 61.

Cook had reached his sixth Test half century and went on to score 11 boundaries before the left-hander tried to push a delivery from Kumble through the leg side. The ball caught the top edge and Cook lobbed an easy catch to mid off.

Captain Michael Vaughan fell caught and bowled to Kumble for 11 on the last ball before the interval and England were trailing by 540 runs with just six wickets standing.

Kevin Pietersen and Collingwood added 78 for the fifth wicket to take England to a healthier 202-4 before Tendulkar dismissed Pietersen for 41 with his first delivery.

The normally fast-scoring Pietersen had appeared restrained, while Collingwood picked up runs with boundaries off his legs from Kumble and Zaheer Khan in successive overs.

Pietersen hit only his second boundary off 83 balls, pulling a ball from Singh through midwicket. Four balls later he drove the same bowler through extra cover for four before Tendulkar captured his wicket in the next to last over before tea.

Tendulkar turned the ball sharply and it caught the outside edge and flew to Dravid at slip.

Collingwood fell for 62 leg-before-wicket to Sree Santh after tea and, when Bell was out for 63 edging Zaheer Khan to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, all England's specialist batsmen were back in the pavilion.

Sidebottom and Prior soon followed and England had slumped from 302-6 to 305-9.

"There's plenty of fight in the England dressing room and I'm sure we'll show it over the next couple of days," Collingwood said. "But it was tough out there."

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