India grind their way to safety

THIRD TEST: Tendulkar falls two short of his highest Test score before English openers survive uncomfortable closing overs; India 521; England 32-0

Long before the first ball was bowled in this match, people were predicting a draw. It is still the most likely result after a slow-moving day where the greatest excitement centered around the 50-1 odds Ladbrokes were offering against an England victory, at the start of play.

However, with the pitch still shorn of pace, India's gradual accumulation of 521 has at least ensured that, even for mug punters, that particular result will remain out of reach.

In many ways, it was an old-fashioned sort of Test match day too: sedate, serene and, until the last session, watched by a full house, seemingly immune to oafish sing-songs and Mexican waves. Perhaps those gathered were anticipating a milestone first double century by Sachin Tendulkar.

If they were, their disappointment came just after lunch when the little maestro fell for 177, two short of his highest ever Test score, made against the West Indies in Nagpur in 1994. But if his departure set back India's plans of scoring rapidly in the hope of declaring before the close, England's bowlers deserved some credit for a much-improved performance that possessed both vitality and aggression.

In the morning session, in particular, persistent cloud cover provided occasional movement and the partnership England had spent the best part of Thursday trying to break was ended in the third over of the day, when Alan Mullally got rid of Saurav Ganguly.

As one of England's better performers from the previous day, Mullally fully deserved the wicket. Having bowled a snorter of a bouncer at Ganguly the previous ball, for which the batsman received treatment to his finger after gloving the ball perilously close to short-leg, the lanky left-armer pitched his next ball wide and full. It tempted the batsman to drive, but the shot lacked conviction, balance or the necessary footwork and Nasser Hussain clasped the chance at fourth slip.

It brought Sanjay Manjrekar to the crease but, instead of maintaining the aggression, Mullally served up a soft half-volley to get him immediately on his way. Those who know him tell of his laidback attitude but, although he was beginning to find that most elusive of weapons in the left-armer armoury, the in-swinger, he will have to show far more aggression if he is to remain a viable force at this level. If he needs a role model, he need look no further than Dominic Cork, who has oodles of aggression.

Unfortunately for Cork, it tends to manifest itself in persistent and over-the-top lbw appeals. A good strong appeal has always been considered essential in enquiring for lbws. However, Cork's doltish histrionics verge on caricature, and can subconsciously set umpires against him. Yesterday he had Tendulkar plumb in front. Unhappily for Cork, his skin-shedding appeal could not persuade umpire Kandiah Francis, and the batsman survived until after lunch when he skied a miscued pull to Min Patel at mid-on.

The mistake, almost identical to the tired shot he got out to at Edgbaston, gave Mark Ealham his maiden Test wicket. On this surface, the Kent seamer has looked fairly friendly, but he knuckled down to his task of making scoring difficult, and the two wickets he finished with were earned with sweat rather than guile.

His team-mate, Patel, was less fortunate, and he has found that bowling spin without the turn against batsmen brought up in the sub-continent is a hazardous occupation and one that, since the days of that other Kent spinner, Derek Underwood, has rarely been held by one person for any great length of time.

Even when he resorted to the negative tactic of bowling over the wicket into the rough, he could not stem the run flow, and, just to cap a trying day, the cautious Manjrekar, who took over three hours for his fifty, swept him for six.

But if it was Manjrekar who provided Patel with the blessed relief of a first Test wicket, it was his sharp catch at short leg that provided another failure with the bat for Mohammad Azharuddin. One that, irrespective of the result of this game, has surely hastened Tendulkar's call to command.

With Azharuddin and Manjrekar gone, only Rahul Dravid of the recognised batsmen remained. As at Lord's he played beautifully, his wristy squash racket shots still managing to pierce Atherton's defensive fields. Ably supported by the tail, he was last out, flashing wildly at Ealham, just 16 short of a first Test century.

It left England with an awkward 11 overs to negotiate before the close. Predictably - against the best bowlers in the series - they needed luck to do so and Atherton was reprieved by Dravid at third slip after Srinath got one to hold up off the pitch. Like the chance he gave Tendulkar on Thursday, it may be one India will have cause to regret.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower