India and Pakistan still 0-0

The final day’s play at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium ended admist two of the most unlikely new ball pairings of all time, and a flurry of Pakistani wickets.

Nonetheless, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf had once again united in a mammoth third wicket partnership – this time adding 242 in fifty overs – Pakistan had extended their lead well beyond the realms of chaseability.

The partnership began early in the day as stand-in opener Kamran Akmal’s innings ended at 78, well taken at gully by Anil Kumble off Irfan Pathan, who became more effective as the game wore on – although, following a dismal first-day effort, this was little consolation.

The stand, Younis untroubled but Yousuf worried occasionally and reprieved twice in the field, came to an end as Gautam Gambhir’s accurate return from third man beat Yousuf’s attempt to gain a second. Abdul Razzaq biffed a sprightly 32, and the score had moved on to 488 for three before he slashed Zaheer Khan to VVS Laxman at slip.

From this point forward, one of the more inexplicable collapses in Test cricket’s history took place – as only two more runs were added to the Pakistan total. Shahid Afridi was caught behind for single, Younis fell six short of a double century, trapped leg before wicket by Rudra Pratap Singh, Mohammad Asif chopped on to Zaheer and Danish Kaneria, at a highly unfamiliar number nine, was bowled leaving.

With captain Inzamam-ul-Haq absent with a back strain, and Shoaib Malik missing to be with his dying father, eight down was all down, setting India 476 to win in fourteen overs.

Younis Khan opted to give himself and Shahid Afridi the new ball, following Rahul Dravid’s unconventional lead as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Dhoni shared the second new ball in the Pakistan innings, and neither troubled either Dravid or Laxman as the game petered out into the series’ second tame draw.

The third and final Test of the series takes place at Karachi. Pakistan are likely to miss Inzamam and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, while Shoaib Malik is definitely out. Faisal Iqbal and Umar Gul have been added to the squad as cover, whilst for India the decision between four and five specialist bowlers remains.

Alternatively, the wicket could be another lifeless slab of mud, both sides could pick eleven batsman and we could scrub Robin Peterson’s name from the history books for all time. It would probably make better viewing.

Pakistan 588
Shahid Afridi 156, Inzamam-ul-Haq 119
Rudra Pratap Singh 4/89, Anil Kumble 3/150

India 603
Mahendra Dhoni 148, Rahul Dravid 103
Danish Kaneria 3/165, Shahid Afridi 2/91

Pakistan 490
Younis Khan 194, Mohammad Yousuf 126
Zaheer Khan 4/61, Rudra Pratap Singh 1/75

India 21/0
VVS Laxman 8*, Rahul Dravid 5*

Match Drawn

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Younis Khan (Pakistan) – 83 and 194

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