Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 18 News List

India edge closer to a Test series victory

TOP ORDER COLLAPSEEngland’s bowlers made a gallant attempt to turn the match around at the start of India’s second innings, reducing the hosts to 44-3

AFP , MOHALI, INDIA

India’s Gautam Gambhir, left, plays a shot in front of England wicketkeeper Matt Prior during the fourth day of the second Test at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, India, yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

India inched closer to winning the Test series against England after the tourists made a bold attempt yesterday to turn the second Test their way.

England, trailing by 151 runs after the first innings, reduced India to 44-3 in their second knock after lunch on the fourth day, before opener Gautam Gambhir once again proved a stumbling block.

The left-hander, who made 179 in the first innings, was unbeaten on 44 as India closed the day at 134 for four, an overall lead of 285 runs with six wickets in hand.

Barring a sensational turn of events on the final day, India look set to force a draw and take the two-Test series 1-0 after winning the first match in Chennai by six wickets.

England ripped through India’s top order as Virender Sehwag was run out for 17 and first-innings century-maker Rahul Dravid was bowled middle stump by Stuart Broad for a duck.

Ian Bell threw himself on the stumps to run out the dangerous Sehwag, who called Gambhir for a sharp single after playing a defensive shot off Broad.

James Anderson then had Sachin Tendulkar caught by Graeme Swann at gully for 5 to make India 44-3, a lead of just 195 runs.

Gambhir put on 36 for the fourth wicket with Venkatsai Laxman (15) and 54 for the unfinished fifth with Yuvraj Singh, who hit a quick-fire 39 not out off 40 balls with five fours and a six.

Laxman was the second Indian batsman to be run out when Andrew Flintoff swept on the ball in the covers and threw to wicketkeeper Matt Prior before the batsman had made his ground.

Broad was England’s main strike weapon with one for 22 from 11 overs, while Flintoff conceded just 16 runs from his nine overs.

Earlier, India bowled out England for 302 in their first innings just before lunch to gain a handsome lead of 151 runs.

England, resuming at their overnight score of 282-6, lost their last four wickets quickly after play began two hours late because of dense winter fog.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh claimed three of those wickets to finish with four for 68, while left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan took one, for an innings total of three for 76.

Harbhajan has now claimed 63 wickets in this calendar year, second only to South African pace man Dale Steyn’s tally of 64.

India grabbed England’s last six wickets for 22 runs after skipper Kevin Pietersen’s 144 and Flintoff’s 62 had lifted the tourists to 280-4 on Sunday.

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