New Delhi:Day three of the Chennai Test truly belonged to England as their all-round show not only pushed India on the back foot but also put them in the commanding position at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
After bundling India for 241 runs, England extended their first innings lead from 75 runs to 247 runs with the help of an unbeaten 129-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Andrew Strauss (73*) and Paul Collingwood (60*). England finished the day's play with a score of 172 at the loss of 3wickets.
Andrew Strauss, who made 123 in the first innings, continued with his purple patch in the second outing and struck 15th fifty, his third against India. Former skipper Paul Collingwood joined Strauss after their three team-mates - Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen - walked back into the pavilion without much addition to the score.
After being completely dominated by England bowlers, India made a comeback in the game after picking three quick wickets but the pair of Strauss and Collingwood put their side back in the dominant position.
Starting their second innings with a lead of 75 runs, England openers Cook and Strauss added 28 runs for the first wicket when Ishant got the former for just 9 runs. A good length delivery drew Cook forward who poked at it tentatively and the ball travelled to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni after taking a faint edge of his bat.
Ian Bell, who came after Cook, could hardly do anything as he pushed an Amit Mishra-delivery to Gautam Gambhir at short leg for 7 runs. England skipper Pietersen soon followed Bell as Yuvraj trapped him in front of the wicket fro just 1 run.
Earlier, after resuming the third day with their overnight score of 155/6, Dhoni and Harbhajan added 75 runs for the seventh wicket before the latter was dismissed by Monty Panesar for 40 runs. He chipped a tossed up delivery from Panesar straight to Bell at short leg.
Bhajji's wicket triggered Indian collapse, for soon after his dismissal Zaheer Khan and skipper Dhoni too departed in quick succession.
While Bhajji missed out on a fifty, Dhoni played a captain's knock and slammed 14th Test fifty, his fourth against England, to take India's score past 200 runs. He perished as Panesar's second victim of the day when he came down the track to send the ball out but ended up being caught by Kevin Pietersen at long off for 53 runs.
Zaheer contributed just 1 run to the score as Andrew Flintoff caught him plumb with his inswinger. The last batting duo of Mishra and Ishant Sharma (8 not out) delayed India's end and added 22 runs for the last wicket. But could not survive even an over post-lunch as Flintoff pitched a fuller delivery on the off-stump that came in. Mishra trying to play it standing on his back foot fell as Freddie's third wicket.
Match report: 1st Test, Day 1
Match report: 1st Test, Day 2