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India fast bowlers put England on backfoot


Mohali : Indian pacers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma struck early on a misty morning to leave England reeling at 57 for two in the first innings at lunch, chasing India’s 453, on the third day of the second cricket Test here Sunday.

Skipper Kevin Pietersen was batting on 28 and opener Alastair Cook on 25 after the end of the first session at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium. The match started late by 90 minutes due to poor light.

England made a dreadful start with both Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell (1) departing in the second over with just one run on board.

Strauss, who hit centuries in each innings of the Chennai Test, was trapped leg before wicket by Zaheer while Bell’s poor form continued as he was clean bowled by Ishant by a pearl of a delivery.

With England struggling at 2/1, Pietersen and Cook displayed some elegant stroke-play to keep the Indian bowlers at bay.

With Pietersen at the crease, Dhoni took a bold move by tossing the new ball to left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh, who had dismissed the English captain three times on tour, for one over.

After that over, it was back to Zaheer, who had Pietersen missing and edging. But Pietersen refused to be on the backfoot and hit Zaheer for fours. Cook also played a couple of sublime drives down the ground off both the fast bowlers.