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India have a mountain to climb

india Updated: Aug 21, 2011 00:42 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

"It is going to stay flat in the morning when we bat and it is going to be all over the shop when India bat, swinging and seaming and turning." Kevin Pietersen joked at the post-day press conference on Friday.

For the Indian team it must have sounded like a prophecy. The way the Indian bowlers turned up in the morning, The Oval looked the flattest of tracks.

Ian Bell moved to his double hundred with ease and Ravi Bopara helped himself to a brisk 44 not out. When it was India's turn to bat in the final session, it was a completely different ball game. James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled with such venom it looked like the visitors had been made to bat on a minefield.

India's nightmare tour continued on the third day of the fourth Test. On a surface where England amassed 591 for six wickets, their innings got off to the worst possible start with their Virender Sehwag out in the first over and VVS Laxman following him 12 balls later. India's misery was complete when Graeme Swann claimed three quick wickets - Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma - to reduce India to 95 for five. At the end of the day, India trailed by 488 runs with five wickets remaining. Rahul Dravid waged a lone battle with an unbeaten 57.

Gambhir hurt
For the fourth time in the series, Rahul Dravid was forced to open after Gautam Gambhir didn't take the field due to mild head concussions suffered after he hit the ground during his clumsy attempt to catch Pietersen on Friday.

Broad produced a beauty to get Laxman, rising and swinging of the length to kiss the shoulder of the bat on the way to the wicketkeeper's gloves.

Sehwag was India's best bet to make a statement, but the expected counter-attack ended with two fours. Without a warm-up, he was gone on the sixth ball.