Vol. 5 Num 1141 Tue. August 14, 2007  

India near series win

India dismissed England captain Michael Vaughan as they closed in on a series victory on the last day of the third and final Test at The Oval here Monday.

England, at tea, were 232 for three. They needed an improbable 268 runs in the final session to reach a victory total of 500, a target way in excess of the current Test record fourth innings winning score of 418 for seven set by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2003.

Kevin Pietersen was 71 not out and Paul Collingwood 23 not out.

At lunch England were 126 for two with Vaughan, dropped on 18, by India counterpart Rahul Dravid, 22 not out and Pietersen 17 not out.

The duo had extended their third wicket partnership to 66 when, 10 balls after a brief break for bad light, Vaughan flashed at a wide delivery outside off stump from fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and was caught behind by wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 42.

His exit left England on 152 for three.

Collingwood was then given a life on 13 when Dhoni dropped an outside edge off spinner Sachin Tendulkar before Pietersen, who'd struck a couple of typically extravagant cover-drives, completed a fifty featuring nine fours.

England resumed Monday on 56 without loss. Andrew Strauss was 23 not out and Alastair Cook 27 not out.

But Rudra Pratap Singh ended a stand between the left-handed openers worth 79 with his fourth ball Monday following several testing overs from Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth.

The left-armer enticed Strauss, without a Test hundred for over a year, to edge an outswinger on 32 to second slip VVS Laxman.

Veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble, a thorn in England's side this match, then removed Cook with India exploiting the batsman's fondness for leg-side shots.

Cook, on 43, saw a genuine glance well caught low down by Laxman at short backward square-leg to leave England 86 for two.

Dravid's men, 1-0 up after a seven-wicket win at Trent Bridge followed a gutsy draw at Lord's, had simply to avoid defeat to become only the third India side, after their 1971 and 1986 predecessors, to win a Test series in England in 15 tours dating back 75 years.

England needed an unlikely victory to maintain a six-year unbeaten run in home Test series, encompassing eight wins and three draws in 11 campaigns, since losing the 2001 Ashes.

India had all but ensured against defeat by with 664 in their first innings - their record Test total against England - which included Kumble's unbeaten 110, his maiden century in his 118 Tests and the only one by an India batsman in this series.

Kumble then became Test cricket's third most successful bowler outright, overtaking retired Australia quick Glenn McGrath's mark of 563 wickets, when he had Monty Panesar lbw to end England's first innings on 345 all out.

Dravid, who opted not to enforce the follow-on, declared India's second innings on 180 for six after former captain Sourav Ganguly had made 57.