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Posted on Dec 08, 09:11PM | IANS
England are on the verge of taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series as India batsmen failed to apply themselves in the second innings and snuffed out any chance of a fight back in the crucial third cricket Test at the Eden Gardens here Saturday.
The visitors reduced the much vaunted Indian batting line up to 145 for six in the second innings at tea to be in striking distance of a comprehensive victory on the fourth day.
With India still trailing by 62 runs with just four wickets in hand and four more sessions to go, England are on the verge of a famous victory.
For England James Anderson took 2-26 and Graeme Swann 2-51 while Steve Finn chipped in with 1-20.
The post-lunch session witnessed India losing six wickets for only 59 runs in 30 overs.
Virat Kohli (19, 57b 3x4) Ravichandran Ashwin (8,40b 1x4) are at the crease with India still trailing by 62 runs from England's first innings lead of 207.
The opening pair of Virender Sehwag (49) and Gautam Gambhir (40) had batted well in the morning session to raise hopes of an India fight back but the hopes evaporated in no time after lunch as English bowlers kept sending the host batsmen back to the hut one by one.
Disaster struck India in the very first ball after lunch when Swann got one to turn in sharply which went to clip the top of the stumps sending Sehwag for the long walk back to the pavilion.
Sehwag and Gambhir's partnership of 86 runs was their 25th partnership of 50 runs or more for and are only behind the great West Indian pair of Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge, who have 26 such partnerships.
With Sehwag's fall there descended an uneasy calm in the stadium but the 25,000 odd crowd was hardly aware of the things to come.
Gambhir, who was involved in getting Sehwag run out in the first innings, was again guilty of going for a quick single which eventually turned out to be nonexistent when an Ian Bell direct throw caught Cheteswar Pujara (8) short of his ground despite a desperate dive.
India's first wicket fell at the score of 86 in the 22nd over and it took seven more overs for the second wicket to go with India adding just 12 runs to its score.
Pujara's fall brought in Sachin Tendulkar to the crease as India pinned their hopes on him partnering Gambhir to save the team, blushes.
In the very first ball of the next over by Swann, there was a controversy after the ball turned and bounced before going to the hands of Jonathan Trott in the slips who took a brilliant low catch sending his teammates to celebrate wildly.
With Gambhir standing in his crease the matter was referred to the third umpire who much to the dismay of the visitors ruled not out. The replays suggested the southpaw indeed had not edged the ball.
With no DRS in place the only decision for the TV umpire to take was if the catch was taken cleanly. But Gambhir was eventually given not out. However, he could not stay for long as he edged a Steve Finn delivery behind the wicket in the next over.
Gambhir fell in the 31st over with the India score being 103.
Tendulkar (5) who had shown semblance of him returning to form in the first innings failed to flatter in the second as Swann came back in the next over to make the master batsman edge one to Trott waiting at the slip.
The procession of wickets continued as Indian batsmen failed to show any resilience or temperament and all being guilty of attempting too many shots.
Next to go was yuvraj Singh (11, 17b 2x4) castled by Anderson in the 37th over when the team scored read just 122 and still 85 runs short of England's first innings lead of 207 runs.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was next in line facing just three balls as he edged on to his counterpart Alastair Cook in the slip of the bowling of Anderson.
Earlier in the day, England resuming at overnight 509/6 could add only 14 runs to take their score to 523 as Indian bowlers quickly dispatched the remaining batsman restricting their lead to 207 runs.
India started the day in the perfect manner when left armer Pragyan Ojha induced Graeme Swann 21 (46b 3x4) to edge one to Sehwag at slip in the very first over of the day while Zaheer Khan got Matt Prior 41 (49b 6x4 1x6) caught behind in the next over.
Offie Ravichandran Ashwin then came in to remove Anderson (9) caught at slip, and Monty Panesar trapped in front in successive balls to end the England innings in just 4.3 overs.
Ojha was the most successful bowler for India with 4/142 in 52 overs while Ashwin took 3/183. Khan and Ishant Sharma took wicket apiece.