India win series 1-0 after draw in final test

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kevin Pietersen's 10th test century helped England survive for a draw in the third test at The Oval on Monday against India, who still claimed a rare series victory outside Asia 1-0.

England, set an unlikely 500 to win, reached 369 for six at the close with Matt Prior 12 not out and Ryan Sidebottom on three.

Pietersen scored a dashing 101 from 159 balls and Ian Bell made 67 from just 62 balls before getting out five overs from the end to set up a nervous finish for the hosts.

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth took three for 53, but India were unable to take the 10 wickets they required on the final day.

They became the first India team to win a test series in England for 21 years, emulating Kapil Dev's side in 1986.

It was India's fourth test series win on tour against major opposition in 21 years. They also won in Sri Lanka in 1993, Pakistan 2004 and West Indies in 2006.

India won the second test at Trent Bridge after the first at Lord's was drawn.

India's victory push at The Oval was set up by their first innings 664, their highest total against England, after winning the toss. Spinner Anil Kumble scored 110 not out for his maiden test hundred, which, surprisingly was India's only three-figure score in the three matches.

England replied with 345 before Rahul Dravid decided not to enforce the follow-on and instead India amassed 180 for six declared to take time out of the match and protect his team's series advantage. This may have cost his side a 2-0 victory.


Pietersen's century, crafted in just over three and a half hours, was the highlight of the final day. Initially he tempered his aggressive instincts for the team cause, reaching his 50 off 108 balls, but registered three figures off 155.

He pulled Zaheer Khan to fine leg to go to 94, drove through extra cover for three to go to 97 and reached his century the following over with a flick off his hip for four through midwicket off Sreesanth.

Four balls later, though, he tried to force another boundary through cover off the back foot but managed only to edge to first slip.

During his innings he had a heated verbal exchange with the normally mild-mannered Kumble after the bowler collided with non-striker Pietersen trying to field off his own bowling. The umpire intervened and Dravid calmed his agitated bowler.

England began the day on 56 without loss. Opener Andrew Strauss was first out, caught at slip off Rudra Pratap Singh for 32 and his place for the Sri Lanka tour in November must now be at risk having not scored a test hundred since August 2006.

Alastair Cook (43), Michael Vaughan (42) and Paul Collingwood (40) also started well then got out.

Collingwood and Bell registered their 2,000th test runs, a day after Kumble passed Glenn McGrath to become the third-highest wicket-taker in test history.

The teams now play a seven-match one-day series starting on Aug. 21.