England 34 for no loss after conceding 231­run lead

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The Independent Online

England's off­spinner Richard Dawson claimed three wickets in four overs to stop India from piling up a massive first innings lead on the third day of the opening test in the northern city of Mohali on Wednesday.

Dawson's strikes helped England restrict India's first innings score to 469, giving it a massive lead of 231 over England's total of 238 in the first knock.

England began its stonewalling in the second innings to score 34 for no loss in 84 minutes of batting before the draw of stumps. At close, Mark Butcher was batting on 11 and Marcus Trescothick on 16.

Dawson, the most successful of England's six bowlers with four wickets for 134 runs, dismissed Vangipurappu Laxman, Harbhajan Singh and Sanjay Bangar in quick succession to end India's run crawl.

England's disciplined line of attack outside the off stump made run scoring tough. But India's batsmen, including the belligerent Sachin Tendulkar, were prepared to graft for runs after losing Rahul Dravid's wicket early in the day.

Both Tendulkar (88 runs) and Dravid (86 runs) fell within close distance of hitting centuries.

Dravid, unbeaten on 78 on Tuesday, fell 14 runs short of scoring his 10th test century when he missed the line of an inseaming delivery from James Ormond to be adjudged leg before.

Dravid's patient 301­minute knock included 10 hits to the fence.

Tendulkar, who kept the scoreboard ticking despite cutting out the strokes during an uncharacteristic knock, opened his arms to hit pace bowler Matthew Hoggard for three fours in an over but settled down for a long partnership with Ganguly.

Ganguly hit Flintoff for two successive fours ­ to fine leg and mid­wicket ­ to take India past the 350­run mark in the first session, which culminated with an aggressive exchange of words between Ganguly and Flintoff.

West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor had to step in to cool the tempers between Ganguly and Flintoff as their midfield dialogue culminated with some angry glances.

Bucknor told both players to take it easy and then lifted his thumb toward match referee Denis Lindsay's room to indicate that everything was under control.

India's chances of going for some quick runs in the afternoon were first spiked by Hoggard, who struck twice in successive overs to dismiss Tendulkar and skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Tendulkar added just 57 runs to his overnight score of 31 before becoming Hoggard's first victim soon after lunch, edging a seaming delivery to wicketkeeper James Foster to culminate his 80­run stand with Ganguly.

Tendulkar struck 13 boundaries from 161 balls faced in 229 minutes of batting, but failed to post his 27th century.

Ganguly's 126­minute knock of 37 ended when he failed to keep down a rising ball from Hoggard and spooned a simple catch to Graham Thorpe in covers. He hit seven fours from 95 deliveries faced.

Thorpe should have pocketed Bangar's easy catch in covers when he tried to lift off­spinner Richard Dawson. Thorpe, however, made heavy weather of an easy task by spilling it when Bangar was on 10.

Bangar, batting with a runner due to a pulled hamstring, went on score 36 runs from 110 balls. He departed after 116 minutes by hitting the ball straight to Dawson.

Laxman plodded his way to 28 runs in 101 minutes before being snapped by Nasser Hussain off Dawson, who added Singh's wicket to his kitty in the next over.