Hoggard boosts England hopes

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The Independent Online

England paceman Matthew Hoggard struck twice in quick succession to reduce India to 149 for five at lunch on the third day of the final Test.

The Yorkshireman removed both Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly in consecutive overs and may have added to his tally with Virender Sehwag fortunate to survive two edges into the slips.

India's hopes of significantly closing the 187–run deficit continue to rest with Sachin Tendulkar, who reached the first interval unbeaten on 77.

Hoggard, in his first over of the morning, enticed a thin edge from Dravid, who continued his wretchedly dogged trot.

Despite his undoubted talent, he has struggled in this series and his three in 61 balls was an extension of the theme that has delivered just 122 runs in 10 hours and 21 minutes at the crease, including more than five hours for his last 36.

Left–hander Ganguly followed for nought, guiding a delivery angled across him to Mark Butcher, who held a neat catch at second slip.

Hoggard's impressive spell – he beat the outside edge with regularity – may have delivered further reward but Andrew Flintoff failed to hold a low, sharp chance from Sehwag at third slip and another edge from the batsman dropped short of Butcher on its way to the third–man boundary.

Earlier, England's quest for early wickets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was held up by early morning drizzle.

Play finally got underway at 10.20am, three–quarters–of–an–hour after the scheduled start, which had been brought forward to accommodate some of the 11 overs lost yesterday to bad light.

When the inclement weather – Bangalore has been on the edge of a monsoon – gave way sufficiently to enable proceedings to get under way, England continued their stifling tactics.

Yesterday Nasser Hussain's attack employed a policy of bowling outside leg–stump from around the wicket in an attempt to frustrate Tendulkar.

Tensions were high on the field throughout the latter part of the evening session and Tendulkar, who resumed on 50 this morning, had a heated exchange with Hussain.

A vociferous crowd voiced their displeasure at the continuation of the tactic today and umpire A.V. Jayaprakash also had words with Hussain and bowler Flintoff.

Tendulkar broke the manacles twice in the opening overs with handsome boundaries – first viciously pulling Giles when he dropped short of the rough and then helping Flintoff off his pads to the square–leg fence.

Such was the effect of Giles' squeeze, however, that India managed just four scoring shots in his 11 overs this morning.

Meanwhile, match referee Denis Lindsay confirmed that the post–lunch session would be extended by half–an–hour in an attempt to haul back further lost overs.

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