England strikes back with quick wickets

Mohali, Mon, 22 Dec 2008 NI Wire

Loss of three quick wickets in the second innings pushed India on the back foot despite having a handy 151-run lead on the fourth day of the final cricket Test against England at Mohali on Monday. India carried on its advantage after bowling out England for 302 in the first innings in reply to its 453.


Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh struck early on Day-4 to wrap up England's first innings for 302 runs. However, some calculative bowling by English bowlers, maintaining a good line and length, brought England back into the game.

Again it was opener Virender Sehwag who fell pray to an extraordinary fielding display and got run out by Ian Bell. Then Rahul Dravid completely missed one of the balls of Stuart Broad which ended up hitting his stumps, which was in stark contrast to his first innings show of 136 runs.

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was next to follow the lane falling cheaply for just five runs. India at one stage came down to 44 for three within the first 20 overs play. VVS Laxman (15) was run out, too.

Gautam Gambhir (34) and Yuvraj Singh (8) were at the crease as India extended its lead by 241 runs.

Earlier, Harbhajan picked up four for 68 while Zaheer Khan claimed three for 76 to contain England’s total shortly before lunch.

Taking up again from the overnight score of 282 for six, England lower-order batsmen couldn’t take in hand Harbhajan’s bowling and fumbled up to loss the last five wickets adding within a span of 12 runs. The off spinner struck with the first ball of the third over removing Matt Prior (2) caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Harbhajan's 'doosra' turned out to be too hot for Stuart Broad (1) while Graeme Swann's (3) stumps were rattled by Zaheer Khan's pitched up delivery. Harbhajan tossed it up again as Monty Panesar (5) lobbed it to forward short-leg.

Skipper Kevin Pietersen (144), Andrew Flintoff (62) and opener Alastair Cook (50) were the shinning faces of England first innings.



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