England 400 & 191 India 279 & 18-1: Flintoff opts for caution in bid for winning position

Andrew Flintoff added further muscle to his case for becoming Michael Vaughan's successor yesterday when he posted a fourth consecutive Test half-century. England will decide in time on who will replace Vaughan when he has had enough, but during the past three weeks Flintoff has shown that he can cope with the extra pressure without it affecting his game.

If anything captaincy has made Flintoff a better and more responsible cricketer, and he emphasised this on the fourth day of the third Test when he accumulated the slowest half-century of his England career. It was just as well that Flintoff did curtail his natural game for almost three and a half hours, because without his input England would not have set India the 313 runs they require for victory.

England, meanwhile, following the late dismissal of Irfan Pathan, need nine more wickets to complete a remarkable victory and level the series. James Anderson was the bowler responsible for reducing India to 18-1, when Pathan inside edged a low full toss on to his off stump.

Flintoff has been a colossus throughout the series. He was given the job when Vaughan returned home before the first Test, and his caring and wholehearted approach has set a perfect example to those youngsters having their first experience of Test cricket. Flintoff may not be a tactical genius but the nature of the man has made debutants feel at home and fringe players feel valuable.

Flintoff and England spent most of yesterday consolidating on the strong position they had established over the opening three days. The batting was rarely appealing, and in 77.4 overs of attritional cricket they lost eight wickets while adding 160 runs to the overnight score of 31-2.

With a team missing five senior figures, England's cautious approach was understandable, if slightly surprising. After all, it is they who need to win the Test, and there were many periods of play when one wondered exactly which team was 1-0 up in the series.

These views may attract ridicule if England complete a remarkable win this morning, but it is hard to believe Australia's batsmen would have played India's spinners in a similar manner.

Flintoff and Paul Collingwood added 66 valuable runs for the sixth wicket but Owais Shah was the most composed England batsman. His foot movement was controlled and decisive, and he played some lovely shots. The best of these, a top-spin pull at a length ball from Sri Sreesanth through wide mid-on for four, had the touch of a right-handed Brian Lara about it.

Shaun Udal, the nightwatchman, gave Shah excellent support. Udal rode his luck but at least he was looking to be positive when he edged Irfan Pathan to Wasim Jaffer at second slip.

Kevin Pietersen can only bat in one way but the pitch made it difficult for him. The groundsman at the Wankhede Stadium has produced an excellent surface, giving batsmen and bowlers of every style the chance to shine. Yet the dismissal of Pietersen, brilliantly caught and bowled by Anil Kumble, highlighted how hard it had now become to score freely on this pitch. Pietersen has wonderful control of his wrists and hands but, when the ball is gripping in the surface, flicks and clips against the spin are risky. It was an attempt to do this that caused his downfall.

Shah and Collingwood survived until lunch but in the first over after the break England's grip began to waver. Shah has never been the best judge of a run and his despairing lunge was beaten by an accurate throw from Sachin Tendulkar at backward point.

Flintoff could have been dismissed on three occasions before he reached 20. He offered a tough chance to Yuvraj Singh at silly-point before scoring and was missed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni on 14 and 18. Collingwood had his own problems against the spinners before being brilliantly caught and bowled by Harbhajan Singh.

Geraint Jones top-edged a pull to give Harbhajan his second wicket and Matthew Hoggard was trapped in front. Flintoff now looked to attack but his advance down the pitch was spotted by Kumble and Dhoni completed a task he should have managed 69 runs earlier.

Anderson fell working a googly through the leg-side and was caught at slip but a more telling contribution came 25 minutes later when he bowled Pathan.

* Sachin Tendulkar will miss the one-day series against England. He has a cyst on his right shoulder and requires surgery.

Scoreboard from Bombay

India won toss; fourth day

England - First Innings 400 (A J Strauss 128, O A Shah 88, A Flintoff 50; S Sreesanth 4-70).

India - First Innings 279 (M S Dhoni 64, R Dravid 52; J M Anderson 4-40).

England - Second innings

(Overnight: 31 for 2)

O A Shah run out (Tendulkar-Dhoni) 38

164 min, 117 balls, 4 fours

S D Udal c Jaffer b Pathan 14

85 min, 51 balls, 2 fours

K P Pietersen c and b Kumble 7

30 min, 15 balls

P D Collingwood c and b Harbhajan Singh 32

160 min, 118 balls, 3 fours

*A Flintoff st Dhoni b Kumble 50

210 min, 146 balls, 6 fours, 1 six

ÝG O Jones c Pathan b Harbhajan Singh 3

33 min, 22 balls

M J Hoggard lbw b Kumble 6

30 min, 28 balls

J M Anderson c Dravid b Kumble 6

19 min, 11 balls

M S Panesar not out 0

10 min, 9 balls

Extras (lb9 w4 nb10) 23

Total (414 min, 92.4 overs) 191

Fall: 1-9 (Strauss) 2-21 (Bell) 3-61 (Udal) 4-73 (Pietersen) 5-85 (Shah) 6-151 (Collingwood) 7-157 (Jones) 8-183 (Hoggard) 9-188 (Flintoff) 10-191 (Anderson).

Bowling: Pathan 13-2-24-1 (nb2 w4) (4-1-6-0, 6-1-14-1, 3-0-4-0); Patel 13-2-39-1 (nb5) (4-0-12-1, 4-2-7-0, 2-0-7-0, 3-0-13-0); Sreesanth 13-3-30-1 (nb1) (9-2-22-1, 4-1-8-0); Kumble 30.4-13-49-4 (nb2) (2-0-3-0, 13-6-20-1, 7-4-13-0, 8.4-3-13-3); Harbhajan Singh 23-9-40-2 (1-1-0-0, 22-8-40-2).

Progress: Third day: close: 31-2 (Shah 15, Udal 2) 15 overs. Fourth day: 50: 107 min, 23.2 overs. Lunch: 85-4 (Shah 38, Collingwood 6) 41 overs. 100: 220 min, 48.1 overs. Tea: 149-5 (Collingwood 31, Flintoff 19) 71 overs. 150: 321 min, 72.1 overs. Innings closed: 4.45pm.

Flintoff's 50: 208 min, 145 balls, 6 fours, 1 six.

India - Second innings

W Jaffer not out 4

37 min, 21 balls

I K Pathan b Anderson 6

15 min, 11 balls

A Kumble not out 8

21 min, 16 balls, 1 four

Total (for 1, 37 min, 8 overs) 18

Fall: 1-6 (Pathan).

To bat: *R S Dravid, S R Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, V Sehwag, ÝM S Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth, M M Patel.

Bowling: Hoggard 4-1-7-0, Anderson 3-1-9-1, Panesar 1-0-2-0 (one spell each).

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and S J A Taufel (Aus).

TV replay umpire: K Hariharan.

Match referee: R S Madugalle.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'