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Sachin Tendulkar was threatening to make England pay for dropping him on 20 as India finished the first day of the third and final Test on 4 for 316 at The Oval in London.

Tendulkar was 48 not out and VVS Laxman 20 not out following an impressive 91 from opener Dinesh Karthik.

Tendulkar should have been back in the pavilion when he edged Ryan Sidebottom to wicket-keeper Matt Prior when India were 3 for 245.

But Prior, who conceded 21 byes on the opening day, let the straightforward chance spill despite getting both hands to the ball.

India, 1-0 up, have to merely avoid defeat in this match to win only their third series in England in 15 campaigns dating back to 1932.

England, by contrast, have to win to maintain their six-year unbeaten run in home Test series.

"We came back pretty well. It's a flat wicket and you have to get stuck in, bowl maidens and squeeze out wickets," England's Andrew Strauss said.

"We stuck at it pretty well. Hopefully we'll bowl them out for around 400 and look to get a big score ourselves.

"In the first session we didn't hit our straps as well as we could have done and after that it was just a case of hitting the right length and waiting for a false stroke.

"We had to be patient because if we became impatient that would play to their strengths."

It seemed as if India, whose captain Rahul Dravid won the toss on a belting batting pitch, were threatening to put the game beyond England's reach before the first day ended when they were 1 for 189.

But England, with James Anderson taking two wickets, fought back to have India 3 for 211 at tea. Tendulkar was 2 not out and Sourav Ganguly 8 not out in what could be both players' last Test in England.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar then saw Tendulkar, his childhood hero, strike him over extra-cover for four. Ganguly later drove Panesar for a straight six.


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Decent score by the Indians on the first day. Let's hope Sachin can get his 100 and put the game beyond Endland's reach.:D
England should have won the first test and India only need a draw to clinch the series 1-0.
 

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Dang, India were all out for 664, with Kumble scoring his maiden test 100 with 110 not out. Good for him.
In reply, at lunch on day 3, England are 4/124, with Pietersen on 4. Vaughan was out on lunch.
 

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England, at stumps on the third day, were 9 for 326 in reply to India's 664 - their record Test innings total against England.

That left the home side 338 runs behind and still needing 139 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

Only a matter of time now.:D
 

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India claimed a Test series in England for only the third time when they completed a 1-0 victory after the third and final Test at The Oval ended in a draw this morning.

England finished on 6 for 369 after being set 500 to win, a target way in excess of the Test record fourth innings winning score of 7 for 418 made by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2003.

Matt Prior was 12 not out and Ryan Sidebottom 3not out while Kevin Pietersen top-scored with 101.

Rahul Dravid's men, ahead after a seven-wicket win at Trent Bridge followed a gutsy draw at Lord's, emulated the 1971 and 1986 teams by winning a series in England for only the third time in 15 tours dating back 75 years.

"It makes me feel proud to be captain of this team. Everyone has really contributed to the victory," Dravid said.

"It's a fitting tribute after so many years to go home with a victory. It's what we came here for and we deserve it. Hats off to the boys, they had a great series."

For England the draw meant the end of a six-year unbeaten run in home Test series, encompassing eight wins and three draws in 11 campaigns, since they lost the 2001 Ashes to Australia.

England captain Michael Vaughan said: "Full credit to India they really put us under pressure from the first session.

"I'm really proud of how the team fought to get the draw. India just pipped it in the end. But we have to take positives. Our team is relatively young and learning fast.

"We just have to go away now and analyse the mistakes we've made."

England were 3 for 232 at tea, needing an improbable 268 more runs for victory.

But the first ball with the new ball saw Paul Collingwood lbw for 40 to fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

South Africa-born Pietersen's drive through mid-wicket off Sreesanth saw him to a 155-ball century with his 18th four, his 10th hundred in 30 Tests.

But four balls later Pietersen's loose drive off the paceman was caught at first slip by Dinesh Karthik.

It looked as if England's last two specialist batsmen would bat out the day but Ian Bell, after a run-a-ball fifty, was lbw for 67 on the sweep to leg-spinner Anil Kumble, a thorn in his opponents' side throughout this match.

England now had to survive at least 28 balls with just four wickets standing but Sidebottom held firm.

Sreesanth had earlier dismissed England captain Michael Vaughan for 42.

Before tea Pietersen exchanged angry words with Kumble after the bowler believed the non-striker had impeded him as he tried to field.

"He's a fierce competitor," said Pietersen of Kumble. "I was ball-watching and I think I just got in his way."

Dravid added: "Anil can get quite wound up. There's no prouder man than when he walks on the field for India."


Whoo! Pietersen did well to get another test 100. Pity England too so damn long to get him in the side.
 
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