Third Test: Indian batsmen struggle against England in Edgbaston

Birmingham, Aug 10 (IANS) Indian batsmen continued to struggle in seaming conditions as England gained firm control of the third Test after the first day's play here Wednesday.

Put in, Indians were again done in by England's pace battery at Edgbaston, but a captain's knock of 77 off 96 balls by Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped the visitors recover from 111/7 to 224 all out in the first innings.

After a batting collapse by the top-order, Dhoni and Praveen Kumar (30) stood tall and took the attack to England in a counter-attack that lasted for an hour. Dhoni, who was struggling with form, smashed 10 fours and three sixes to help India get a respectable total.

England fast bowlers continued their terrific performance with Stuart Broad (4/53) and Tim Bresnan (4/62) sharing eight wickets while Jimmy Anderson bagged two for 69.

Andrew Strauss (52) and Alastair Cook (27) reduced the deficit to just 140 runs as England reached stumps at 84 for no loss in the first innings. England will snatch the No.1 Test status from India if they win this match.

Earlier, India made a disastrous start, crashing to 75 for four at lunch.

Gautam Gambhir (38) started the proceedings, hitting Anderson for two fours in the first over. But Virender Sehwag, who is making a comeback after recuperating from a shoulder surgery, went for a first ball duck in the second over after he tried to leave Broad's first delivery and was given out via the Decision Review System (DRS) after Hotspot indicated the ball had brushed his top glove.

Gambhir and Rahul Dravid (22) led the fight with a 51-run stand before Gambhir inside-edged an attempted off-drive at Bresnan onto his leg-stump.

Sachin Tendulkar (1) continued his poor run poking at a wide delivery off Broad and was caught by third slip Anderson.

Bresnan ended a bright morning session for England, under overcast conditions, with the best delivery of the day that appeared to be angling in but held its line to knock back Dravid's off-stump.

V.V.S. Laxman (30) raised hopes, hitting crisply timed six fours, before mistiming a pull off Bresnan and was caught at long leg by Broad.

Dhoni and Kumar then offered late resistance with an 84-run stand for the eighth wicket to help India recover from a precarious 111 for seven. Dhoni and Kumar played some brave shots as boundaries came in quickly in the later stages of the post-lunch. Kumar smashed four fours and a huge six off spinner Graeme Swann over long-on.

However, Bresnan removed Kumar in the next over after he tried to pull him. Kumar got a faint edge, which went unnoticed by the field umpire but was given out after England captain Andrew Strauss went for the second review.


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