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.

On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style

Life and Style

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week