Anderson puts England in command

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The Independent Online

James Anderson's golden arm put England on top in the must-win final Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

The Lancashire paceman finished with four wickets and a run out as the tourists secured a 121-run first-innings lead as they seek to level the series.

Fittingly it was the 23-year-old, playing his first Test in 14 months due to the injury crisis which has swept through the camp, who wrapped up the innings when he bowled last man Munaf Patel.

After ruining Sachin Tendulkar's record-breaking appearance yesterday evening, Anderson claimed two wickets, including the prize one of Rahul Dravid, and addressed England's fielding errors with the brilliant run out of dangerman Mahendra Dhoni.

Dhoni, who had begun Andrew Flintoff's over - the second with the new ball - with three boundaries to move to 64 drove to the leg side and called for a run.

Anderson swooped to his right at mid-on and hit the stumps direct with his throw and umpire Darrell Hair called for technological adjudication.

Third umpire Krishna Hariharan then viewed numerous replays of the incident before awarding a hairline decision in the favour of Andrew Flintoff's team.

Anderson wasted little time in gaining a third wicket of the innings when, with his second ball from the Tata end, Harbhajan Singh edged and wicketkeeper Geraint Jones clutched a fine catch high to his right. The tourists got into the Indian tail after lunch when Irfan Pathan holed out in the deep off Shaun Udal.

Fellow spinner Monty Panesar gained a solitary success when he halted a frustrating stand between Anil Kumble and Sri Sreesanth, the latter lbw sweeping to be the penultimate wicket.

India's position may have been considerably worse, however, had England held their catches.

Dhoni mistimed a drive to mid off off Anderson, on 23, but Panesar fluffed the chance to his left.

Three balls later Dravid wearily guided to gully where substitute Matt Prior - on the field in place of captain Andrew Flintoff - grassed a straightforward opportunity at waist height.

Flintoff returned for Jones' second catch of the morning, which came in an Anderson spell of 6-3-3-1.

Dhoni reached his first half-century of the campaign, from 97 deliveries, having survived another chance minutes earlier, as a blistering drive smacked the left palm of Udal in his follow-through.

Udal did get his reward, however, the very next ball after Pathan survived an appeal for a catch at slip when Matthew Hoggard judged a catch perfectly at deep mid-on.

Anderson shrugged off the disappointment of the missed catches, in his previous over, shortly before the first interval when a leg glance was hauled in by wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.

Dravid's 52, crafted over four hours, provided India's first innings with a semblance of stability.

It was Flintoff who made the first incision on the third day when, after one big appeal for a caught behind was correctly turned down earlier in the over, left-hander Yuvraj Singh toe-ended a cut to be spectacularly caught by Jones, diving in front of Owais Shah at first slip.

But Dravid marked his 100th Test with a 133-ball 50 and took his time at the crease during this series close to 19 hours.

It was an intriguing contest at the other end between the flamboyant Dhoni and Flintoff, with the latter peppering his opponent with short balls.

In the midst of the confrontation England's request to change the ball - after just 47.5 overs of the innings - was granted.

The new one clattered into the back of Dhoni's helmet from a well-directed bouncer in a highly eventful Flintoff over.

After being struck behind the left ear, Dhoni took his time between balls to regain his composure, which only added to the painfully slow nature of the morning session.

Despite the fierce heat umpires Simon Taufel and Hair gave both sides a hurry-up, after Dhoni changed his headgear.

Six overs were lost yesterday due to lack of urgency from both sides and only 24 were sent down in the first session today.

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