Strauss, Collingwood guide England to strong position (Lunch Report)

December 14th, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 14 (IANS) Opener Andrew Strauss completed his second century of the match and in the company of Paul Collingwood put England in a strong position with an overall lead of 319 runs at lunch on the fourth day of the first cricket Test against India at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here Sunday.England, resuming at their overnight score of 172 for three, ended the first session, comfortably placed at 244 for three as Strauss (102 batting) and Collingwood (93 batting) ground the Indian attack to near helplessness with an unfinished 201-run partnership.

The Indian bowlers toiled in hot and humid conditions while both Strauss and Collingwood showed more intent on keeping their wickets intact while making little attempt to force the pace on a pitch that offering some turn, but rather on the slower side.

There was little to separate the two batsmen in terms of stroke production as both showcased their patience and concentration much more than any appreciable range of strokes.

Strauss reached his second century of the match with a single to midwicket after having batted for 348 minutes and struck seven boundaries.

At the other end, Collingwood, looking equally solid, inched his way to his eighth century in 40 Tests while the 200-run partnership came about in the 66th over.

As the partnership prospered, the Indians grew in desperation, but with the pitch offering precious little encouragement, the chance of taking a wicket lay more in the batsmen committing an error rather than the bowlers forcing one.

The only bright spot of Indian bowling came close to lunch when Zaheer Khan, in his fourth spell, had the batsmen hopping about the crease with some nasty, short-pitched deliveries, one of which struck Collingwood on the shoulder.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni tried everything he could to break the stand, but on the day, the England batsmen stood firm.

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