England beat India - and the odds - to tie series

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The Independent Online

England completed a remarkable final-Test victory at the Wankhede Stadium to share the series with India. It was their first victory in India for 21 years.

Andrew Flintoff's depleted side were victorious by 212 runs after dismissing the home team for a paltry 100 midway through the afternoon session.

Off-spinner Shaun Udal was England's hero with four wickets in a crazy post-lunch spell which saw the last seven Indian batsmen dismissed for just 25 runs.

India lost only two wickets in the first session, England's bowlers struggling to prise apart the big duo of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

The tourists had begun the day needing nine wickets to level the series and they were given a fine start to the final morning as two leg-before decisions resulted in the dismissals of nightwatchman Anil Kumble and opener Wasim Jaffer.

The depleted side - missing five of last summer's Ashes winners - were cheered when in only the third over of the morning Matthew Hoggard found a breakthrough. Umpire Simon Taufel turned a confident lbw appeal down but upheld another two balls later after Hoggard nipped one back into Kumble.

Jaffer was tormented by Flintoff in the opening overs and succumbed after a change of ends for the England captain when a full delivery clattered into the pads in front of middle-stump.

That brought hometown hero Tendulkar to the crease, alongside captain Dravid, who had already spent the equivalent of three days' play batting in this series.

Tendulkar shrugged off his poor form of late to find the boundary on a handful of occasions. He got off the mark with an edged four off Flintoff and also tucked James Anderson to the midwicket rope.

One false stroke aside - he stopped his shot and looped the ball over the head of Flintoff, in his follow-through - the 32-year-old appeared in fine touch.

Tendulkar was particularly harsh on left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, punishing two deliveries in one over which cost 12 but perished off the bowling of Udal as an inside edge popped onto pad and into Ian Bell's gleeful grasp.

Big-hitters Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Dhoni followed swiftly as England closed in for the kill.

It was not long in coming as the Indian tail swung the bat in frustration with Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel both held in the deep hoisting Udal to leg.

The Hampshire veteran off-spinner finished with four for 14 while Anderson continued his fine match with two wickets.

England's victory ranks alongside some of their best in the past two years, given their horrendous luck with injuries during this tour.

They travelled without first-choice spinner Ashley Giles and then lost captain Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick and Simon Jones within the first fortnight.

The chaos continued up until this past week when Stephen Harmison became the fifth member of the Ashes-winning side to miss at least one Test here and opening batsman Alistair Cook went down on the first morning with a stomach bug.

The victory also maintains England's hold on second place on the International Cricket Council's official Test rankings - defeat in Mumbai would have seen India overhaul them.

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