Friday, May 20, 2022

Pakistan Press For Victory

Displaying excellent form, the top order loses little time to post 261-2 and set India a daunting target of 383 in their bid to draw parity.

Pakistan Press For Victory

A commanding performance by its top order helped Pakistan set India a steep fourth innings target and push for a series-levelling victory in the third and final Test at the M Chinnaswamy stadium today.

A blazing half century by the swashbuckling Shahid Afridi followed by another defiant innings from vice-captain Younis Khan saw Pakistan declare their second innings at 261 for two.

Younis, with a record-breaking double century in the first innings, was unbeaten on 84 from 98 balls while young opening batsman Yasir Hameed came into his own at the right time to anchor the visitors' second essay with a valuable 76.

Having conceded a first innings lead of 121 after being dismissed for 449 earlier in the day, the hosts now face a daunting target of 383 which no team has successfully chased in India so far.

At stumps, India were 25 for no loss with Virender Sehwag on six and Gautam Gambhir on 19.

Afridi (58) set up the perfect launch pad for his team with an explosive innings. Afridi and Yasir scored at a scorching pace and they shared a 91-run partnership for the first wicket in 78 balls.

Afridi struck the fastest fifty by a Pakistani when he reached the mark in 26 balls.

The cavalier batsman, however, was tied down by Sachin Tendulkar who ripped huge leg breaks from the bowlers' footmarks around the batsman' legs.

Trying to break the shackles Afridi stepped out to Tendulkar, missed and was stumped. His 58 came in 61 minutes from 34 balls with eight fours and two sixes.

Hameed then put on 92 runs for the second wicket with Younis before he was adjudged leg before wicket to Anil Kumble.

Thereafter, captain Inzamam-ul-Haq (31 not out), who his 184 in the first knock, and Younis drilled a few boundaries that had the Indians completely on the mat.

If Inzamam was on the ball from the outset, pulling Kumble disdainfully to the mid-wicket fence, Younis was audacious in playing a reverse sweep-drive against India's leading wicket-taker.

The shot also brought up the team's 250 in the 49th over. The duo brought up their 50-run stand in mere 45 balls.

Earlier, V.V.S. Laxman struck a timely 79 and shared a 50-run partnership with Kumble for the last wicket that helped the hosts reduce the deficit to 121.

Resuming at 379 for six, India were 396 for nine at one stage after losing three wickets for 10 runs in the morning.

Danish Kaneria picked up his 10th five-wicket haul for figures of 5-125 as he sliced through the Indian tail.

Mohammad Sami (3-106) provided the first breakthrough of the day for his team when he had Irfan Pathan (5) caught by Yousuf Youhana in the fifth over.

Kaneria then removed Harbhajan Singh in the next over and four overs later Lakshmipathy Balaji was back in the pavilion.

Laxman earned a reprieve when he was on 70, with Younis dropping an uppish shot at slips off Sami.

Kumble was dropped by wicket keeper Kamran Akmal when he was on six off Abdul Razzaq after Pakistan took the new ball in the 115th over.

The duo then frustrated the Pakistani bowlers who were on top earlier. Kumble hit a boundary off Kaneria to help the home team reach the 400 mark.

Afridi, out for a first ball duck in the first innings, responded for the faith reposed in him with a blistering knock.

The team's 50 came up in 6.5 overs as Balaji and Pathan conceded 26 and 45 runs in their first spells respectively.

Kumble was brought on in the seventh over but it was not until the introduction of Tendulkar in the 11th over did things begin to change.

Afridi, spilled by Pathan at fine-leg boundary, missed out on the fastest ever 50, by Jacques Kallis in 24 balls.

His hurricane knock was brought to an end by the guile of Tendulkar.



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