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Kaif, Kumble steady India after Hoggard puts England on top

Written by: Staff
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Nagpur, Mar 3 (UNI) Mohd Kaif and Anil Kumble steadied the Indian ship with a brilliant 128 run partnership for the eighth wicket after Matthew Hoggard cut through the hosts' top order with a five wicket haul to bring the first Test back on an even poise on the third day at the VCA ground here today.

With just one wicket in hand and still trailing by 71 runs, India finished the day at 322 for nine in reply to England's first innings score of 393.

At the draw of stumps, Harbhajan Singh was yet to open his account.

Kaif and Kumble joined hands for India in the afternoon session with the home team looking down the barrel at 190 for seven. The two equalled the previous best Indian eighth-wicket partnership of 128 against England which stood in the name of Ravi Shastri and Syed Kirmani in 1981 in Delhi.

However, the two played sensible cricket and made most of the opportunities the visitors offered with both of them being given one life each.

Kumble got off the mark with a streaky four off Hoggard and in the next over Flintoff dropped a difficult return catch from Kaif when the batsman was on 18 in the team score of 194 for 7.

Kaif made the Englishmen pay for this lapse from their captain as he first defended stoutly and then grew in confidence as the moisture in the wicket evaporated with the sun beating down after the overnight unseasonal rains to play his trademark flicks and drives to telling effect.

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