Harmison ruled out for third test against India

Already missing four key players, England on Thursday suffered another setback when pace spearhead Steve Harmison was ruled out for the third and final cricket test against India suffering from an injured shin.

"Harmison has been ruled out of the test. He's been diagnosed as having a shin stress on his right leg," said Andrew Walpole, a spokesman for the England team. "We are seeking further medical opinion from the U.K.," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Walpole as saying.

Walpole said pending the medical update, expected Friday, the Durham bowler will remain with the tour. "At the moment we have not thought of asking for any reinforcement," he said.

England must win the third test, beginning Saturday, to square the three-test series against the hosts, while India captain Rahul Dravid is looking to cap his 100th test with a series-clinching victory at Bombay.

India scored an emphatic nine-wicket victory in the second test against England in the northern town of Mohali after drawing the first test in the western Indian city of Nagpur.

Dravid, 33, is set to become only the sixth Indian to complete 100 tests after Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Anil Kumble.

England is playing without regular captain Michael Vaughn and seam bowler Simon Jones, out with knee problems.

Vice-captain Marcus Trescothick also flew back to London to deal with a family matter, while left-arm spinner Ashley Giles didn't travel to India because of fitness problem.

"To compete with India, we have to put up a good score. It's no good getting 50s or 60s. One of the batsmen must make one big hundred," acting captain Andrew Flintoff said Thursday. "We hope to square the series."

England dominated the drawn first test against India and won the toss in the second before being bowled out for 300 runs as Kumble claimed five wickets for 76 on his way to his landmark of 500th test wicket.

Kumble again wrecked England's second innings with four wickets for 70 runs.

With rookie Indian seamer Munaf Patel claimed four wickets for 25 runs to help dismiss England for 181 runs in the second innings.

India overhauled the required 144 runs for victory for the loss of opener Waisim Jaffer's wicket, reports the AP.

D.M.

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