England keep series alive

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The Independent Online

England's persistence forced India to halt their plan to score quick runs as they attempted to establish a major lead and push for victory in the final Test at the PCA Stadium.

Having conceded a 151-run first innings deficit when they were dismissed for 302 early on the fourth day, the tourists could have faced a testing finale to the series had India given themselves time to bowl England out by scoring quick runs.



But despite beginning their reply quickly - they scored 30 runs in the first six overs - England's ability to make steady inroads slowed their progress and forced them to bat for the remainder of the fourth day and extended their lead to 285 at the close by reaching 134 for four - giving them less time to bowl the tourists out tomorrow.



India had begun their reply shortly before lunch after England, who resumed 171 runs adrift on 282 for six, lost their last four wickets for just 20 runs in only 10.5 overs, and attempted to set the tone for their innings by racing to 30 without loss inside six overs.



But from the moment explosive opener Virender Sehwag ran himself out in the sixth over until VVS Laxman was also run out 33 overs later, they had clearly decided to bat out the game and added only 50 runs during that period.



Rahul Dravid was as patient as ever, facing 19 balls before being bowled by Stuart Broad for a duck, while Sachin Tendulkar fended James Anderson to the gully.



Opener Gautam Gambhir was the mainstay of the innings and after starting promisingly, hitting two boundaries in the first over, he had reached an unbeaten 44 when bad light halted play after 50 overs at the crease.



England had begun the day hoping to frustrate India's hopes of victory, but suffered an early setback with Matt Prior falling to the 13th ball of the day when he edged a leg glance behind off Harbhajan Singh.



Harbhajan struck again in his next over when Broad shouldered arms to a delivery which he thought would turn but instead continued its path and knocked back his off-stump.



India turned to left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan after several overs of leg-spinner Amit Mishra from the other end and the change of bowling earned another breakthrough in his second over.



New batsman Graeme Swann had allowed the previous two deliveries to swing away outside off-stump but his middle stump was removed with the next ball, which surprised him and swung in to edge India closer to a massive first innings lead.



Last man Monty Panesar lasted four overs until the innings ended with Harbhajan claiming his third wicket of the morning when he edged to short leg as England lost their last six wickets for 22.



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