Pakistan compile huge leadAlex Crampton |
On the first two days of this match, ball dominated bat. Today, though, Pakistan’s batting dominated India’s bowling, taking the game and the series away from the tourists.
Pakistan were already on top at the start of the day’s play, and with their best batsmen in Inzaman’s absence, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, they were well set for a big total.
Yousuf and Khan were unbeaten overnight for 30 and 25 respectively, and they added to those with little trouble at all. The pitch was no longer giving the bowlers assistance, and they weren’t doing themselves any favours either. Boundaries came easily and regularly, and in between those were well-judged singles, and the odd scampered two after some slack fielding.
The pair shared their fourth century partnership of the series, but Anil Kumble ended their fun when Younis hardly got forward to one that hardly turned, and was adjudged lbw. His partner suffered the same fate shortly afterwards, this time to a flipper that got him stuck on the back foot, three short of another century.
This was probably Anil Kumble’s moment of the day. From this point onwards, the Pakistanis took a liking to his bowling, particularly when he began to tire later on. But first, Shahid Afridi took centre stage.
Afridi’s usual thrashing strokeplay was there for all to see, pulls and cuts creamed away with astonishing power, but there was also an unusual amount of caution in his innings. He was by far the dominant partner in his partnership with Faisal Iqbal, but the six off hat-trick hero Irfan Pathan was his only one. His cameo ended when he mishit a pull to mid-on, off RP Singh.
Iqbal now had a chance to make his mark, and he grabbed it eagerly with both hands. After being watchful at first, he played some glorious cover drives, and his back-foot play was not that you’d expect from someone averaging 23 before this match. Unfortunately, he will probably not be in Pakistan’s next test line-up after this series, as Inzamam Ul-Haq returns.
But he did all he could in the situation, and he did a lot. Along with Abdul Razzaq, he enjoyed a late spurt of runs, which included two huge sixes off a hapless Kumble from Razzaq. The same bowler was victim to a crashing pull stroke off Iqbal, which brought up his maiden century, a fine effort.
Pakistan closed on 511-5, and with a lead of 518 and 2 days to go, the series is there barring a miracle. India would have to bat for up to 2 days to draw, or chase a total 100 more than the current record.
Pakistan 245 all out
Abdul Razzaq 45, Kamran Akmal 113, Shoaib Akhtar 45
Irfan Pathan 5/61, Zaheer Khan 2/75, Rudra Pratap Singh 3/66
India 238 all out
Yuvraj Singh 45, Irfan Pathan 40
Mohammad Asif 4/78, Abdul Razzaq 3/67
Faisal Iqbal 103*, Mohammad Yousuf 97, Younis Khan 77
Anil Kumble 2-136