England in command of first Test but clever batting is needed

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England may have dominated day three of the first Test between England and India, but it is day four that will decide the outcome.

With two innings still to be concluded in the final two days of the first Test at Lord’s the draw remains the favoured outcome at 4/6.

Andrew Strauss will know his side are unlikely to lose this Test match, especially with India a man short, but the England captain must lead his side to a high total on Sunday if they are to claim victory.

England are 5/4 to win the first Test after dominating a cracking day of cricket that saw Rahul Dravid claim a century and Stuart Broad take four wickets – although it could have been six had his teammates held on to their chances.

Having seen out the remaining four overs of the day, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook will head out to the crease tomorrow morning knowing that England are 193 runs ahead.

Neither Strauss or Cook were able to assert their authority in the first innings and while there are no concerns around Cook’s form, all eyes will be on the England captain to see if he can get amongst the runs.

Strauss is 5/6 to score under 36.5 runs in the second innings but it may be worth backing the England captain tomorrow as he will have to lead from the front if England are to win this Test match.

A target of somewhere around 500 will be in Strauss’ mind and he will be hoping that England reach it with overs to spare tomorrow so that his bowling attack can have a late go at the Indian top order.

This match is finely poised for England and with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ian Bell and Matt Prior ready to play some shots, India are in for a tough task saving this Test match.

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