Hussain hopes to restore England’s flagging spirits

NASSER HUSSAIN provided hope of success in England’s unlikely attempt to salvage a draw from the third Test against India.

They will reassemble at Headingley for the final day still looking to part Hussain from the crease.

He has already occupied 238 minutes to score an unbeaten 90 and guide his side to 239 for four, still trailing by 116 runs.

And if nothing else he has restored the flagging spirits of his England side after being humbled over the last three days with bat and ball by India.

For long periods of the fourth day England’s cause looked doomed having resumed still 165 adrift of saving the follow on at 264 for nine and lasted only 13 minutes before Matthew Hoggard gave Kumble his third wicket of the innings.

Their follow-on fate now sealed with a massive deficit of 355 runs, England’s fate could not have got much worse than to lose in-form Michael Vaughan to the 10th over of their second innings, trapped leg before to Ajit Agarkar.

Robert Key and Mark Butcher at least guided England unscathed until lunch, but the afternoon session proved costly to their hopes of frustrating India sufficiently to take the match into the final day.

At 148 for four with almost three hours before the close, England’s hopes looked bleak as Stewart walked out to meet his captain although he did plenty to calm the nerves by claiming boundaries through mid-wicket from his first two deliveries.

Hussain set the tone by marching down the wicket to hoist Harbhajan over long on for six, but both batsmen soon reverted to a more defensive position.

They took England from 150 to 200 in 149 balls with Hussain scoring only five singles in 45 deliveries, during which time he batted out four successive maidens to left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan.

As if awoken from their slumber they then reverted to all-out attack and hammered seven boundaries in 21 deliveries before once again becoming more cautious as the close approached.

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