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Rediff.com  » Sports » Strauss and Collingwood put England in control

Strauss and Collingwood put England in control

Last updated on: December 13, 2008 18:05 IST

First-innings centurion Andrew Strauss struck another half-century to help England regain the ascendancy in the first Test against India in Chennai on Saturday.

Left-handed opener Strauss hit 73 not out and added 129 for the fourth wicket with Paul Collingwood, who remained undefeated on 60, to lift the tourists out of trouble after they lost three quick wickets.

England were 172 for three at the close on the third day to take their overall lead to 247 with seven wickets remaining.

The tourists had gained a 75-run first innings lead after bowling out India for 241 in the first over after lunch, but the hosts struck back by reducing England to 34 for three.

Strauss, who scored 123 in the first innings, and Collingwood saw England through a difficult period. The pair got on top of the attack, forcing the home spinners to briefly operate to a packed leg-side field to stem the flow of runs.

Strauss, who survived an early reprieve and hit five fours, brought up his 50 and the team's 100 with a square drive to the fence off leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

Fast bowler Ishant Sharma struck an early blow in England's second innings when he had opener Alastair Cook poking outside off-stump to be caught behind for nine.

Mishra and part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh struck in successive overs to shake the top-order.

Mishra, who took three wickets in the first innings, had patchy Ian Bell caught at short-leg by Gautam Gambhir for seven.

Yuvraj struck with his first ball when he had captain Kevin Pietersen leg-before for one after being brought on ahead of specialist spinner Harbhajan Singh.

England spinner Monty Panesar struck two crucial blows after India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit his third successive TestĀ half-century to help the side rally after resuming on 155 for six.

Dhoni (53) took his overnight seventh-wicket stand with Harbhajan (40) to 75 before Panesar dismissed the two to help England regain control. The spinner finished with three for 65.

Dhoni, 24 overnight, batted with poise to help India move closer to England's first innings total before being ninth out, caught at long-off in the deep by Pietersen.

Harbhajan hit fast bowler Steve Harmison for two fours in one over but was eventually caught at short-leg by Bell after Panesar had replaced Harmison in the attack.

Flintoff dismissed Zaheer Khan and Mishra to finish with three for 49.

England resumed their aborted tour after tight security was promised for the two Tests in the wake of last month's terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 179 people.

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