New Delhi:Indian spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra struck in the last two overs and dismissed Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff to reduce England to 282/6 at the close of third day's play in Mohali on Sunday.
Pietersen played a captain's knock of 144 runs to take England out of pit. Chasing 453 runs, England were tottering with 131/4 at one stage but Pietersen smashed 15th Test hundred, his third against India to keep his side in contention. He got good support from Alastair Cook and Andrew Flintoff for the third and fifth wicket respectively.
KP, who came after Ian Bell's dismissal, added 103 runs for the third wicket with Cook before the latter fell to Zaheer Khan. He later added 149 runs for the fifth wicket with Freddie. But in the penultimate over of the day, Harbhajan caught him plumb in front of the wicket.
Leg-spinner Mishra took cue from Bhajji and struck in the last over to remove Flintoff for 62 runs. The former England skipper raised 25th Test fifty, his sixth against India before Gautam Gambhir took a superb catch at short leg off Mishra.
Earlier in the day, dense fog and poor light conditions at the PCA Stadium in Mohali delayed the start by 90 minutes. England, who desperately needed a good start, got first shock in the first over when Zaheer trapped Strauss who had not even opened the England account. A fuller delivery hit his pad in front of the leg and middle stump.
New man Ian Bell could not even survive a delivery. The first ball of Ishant's over saw him clean bowled. Playing for the drive, Bell saw his stump knocked down when the ball took an inside edge of his bat and crashed in. After his dismissal, KP and Cook consolidated England but Zaheer returned in the second session to dent England's fightback when he dismissed Cook with an excellent yorker that rapped him on the pads for 50 runs. This was his 16th Test fifty.
Mishra did not allow England to plant their feet on the ground after three shocks and dismissed Paul Collingwood as the fourth batsman. Mishra broke the 27-run partnership between Collingwood (11) and Kevin Pietersen that had the potential to pose serious threat to India. He gave some extra flight to a delivery that pitched on the middle stump and turned sharply to take a faint edge of Collingwood's bat on its way to keeper MS Dhoni.
Match report: 2nd Test, Day 1
Match report: 2nd Test, Day 2