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Kaif, Kumble steady India to 252 for seven after Hoggard runs riot

Written by: Staff
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Nagpur, Mar 3 (UNI) After Matthew Hoggard ripped through Indian top order with a five wicket haul, Mohammed Kaif hit an unbeaten half century to guide the hosts to 252 for seven at tea on the third day of the first Test here today.

At the break, Kaif was at the crease on 61 and giving company was Anil Kumble on 19. They put on a fighting 62-run unbroken eighth-wicket partnership with Kaif reaching his third Test fifty just before the break. Kaif's 61 came from 146 deliveries and had seven hits to the fence in it.

The duo came together when the team was in deep trouble at 190 for seven and Matthew Hoggard bowling the spell of his life.

Kaif dug his heels in and took full advantage of the chance given by the opposing captain Andrew Flintoff, when the bowler dropped a difficult return catch when the batsman was on 18 and India were 194 for seven.

Slowly but surely, the two grafted runs and when the chance presented, they scored important runs to take the team closer to England's first innings score of 393.

Kaif took full advantage of Steve Harmison, who was the weak link in the English bowling today hitting him for a brilliant cover drive and then in the same over slashed the bowler over slips for another boundary.

At the other end, Kumble, who had started off with a streaky boundary over slips, also received a reprieve when he was on nine, with Geriant Jones dropping him behind the stumps off Harmison.

India was 217 for seven then.

Kumble then rubbed salt by executing a perfect cover drive of Harmison.

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