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Cricinfo: India v England 2008-09
CricinfoCricinfo: India v England 2008-09

2nd Test: India v England at Mohali - Dec 19-23, 2008,

England collapse to Harbhajan

Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh hastened an England collapse on the fourth day, taking three wickets in addition to his dismissal of Kevin Pietersen on the third, to help India gain a massive 151-run lead. England lost their last six wickets for 22 runs to cede the advantage as India, despite losing four wickets in their second innings, were well in front with a lead of 285.

Harbhajan struck off the first ball of the third over of the day, getting rid of Matt Prior, who was caught down the leg side attempting a glance off a ball that spun in from middle to deflect off his gloves to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who pouched it comfortably behind the wickets. Stuart Broad followed in his next over, completely misreading a straight ball bowled from round the wicket, shouldering his arms expecting it to spin away, only to find his stumps uprooted. Monty Panesar, who was caught by Gautam Gambhir at forward short leg for 5, was Harbhajan’s final victim.

The early conclusion to England’s innings was crucial as it provided India an opportunity to set the visitors an imposing target, which would have been difficult to do had Harbhajan not dismissed Pietersen to initiate a collapse. However, India, after getting off to a brisk start in their second innings, faltered after the dismissal of Virender Sehwag, being reduced to 80 for four at one stage. But Yuvraj Singh scored an aggressive, unbeaten 39 to extend India’s lead and take them to safety.