Kamal rescues Pakistan

India v Pakistan
First Test, Mohali – Day 1

A career-best 5/76 by Laxmipathy Balaji wasn’t enough to propel India to a dominant position, as Asim Kamal once again defied them with an adroit 91, so that honours could be shared on Day 1 of the first Test of this historic series, at Mohali.

The Indian pace trio of Balaji, Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan justified their skipper, Sourav Ganguly’s decision to bowl first on a green wicket, with enough moisture to last more than a session, by reducing Pakistan to three-down in the first session.

Pathan made the initial breakthrough, by knocking over Salman Butt’s stumps off a delivery that came back in late, significantly. Younis Khan, who batted at #3 was to follow next, not very long after, as a positive start with a four was brought to an abrupt end when he was trapped in front of the wickets by Pathan’s new-ball partner, Zaheer, off a ball that pitched exactly on the leg-stump line.

After the fall of those two early wickets, Taufeeq Umar, who opened with Butt, and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq put together a decent little partnership of 69, albeit always in the danger of losing the former, as he failed to make contact on drive after drive. Umar was finally taken out by Balaji, when he was bowled off an inside edge for 44, just before the lunch interval, with the team score at 3/89.

Resuming at 3/91 after lunch, Yousuf Youhana, lasted only a couple of more overs, as his wicket was accounted for by Pathan getting him caught behind by Dinesh Kaarthick, who had a mixed day, giving away 11 byes, for just 6. Asim Kamal joined Inzamam at this juncture, and played a silent role, helping the latter to a half century off just 72 balls.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, Inzamam didn’t last much longer after that. He played down the wrong line to Anil Kumble’s top-spinner, getting caught plumb in front. Abdul Razzaq, who made way into the middle, ahead of wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal, was in typically aggressive mood, hitting five fours in reaching 26 off 24 balls, before letting that agression get the better of him, as he edged Balaji to Karthik.

A feature of the Indian bowling today was to pick up wickets at regular intervals, and the partnership that followed, of Akmal and Kamal, too was broken just in the nick of time, as the former was dismissed by Kumble, leaving Kamal stranded with only the tail-enders.

Kamal added 43 valuable runs for the eight wicket with Mohammad Sami before the latter was bowled for 20 by a perfect Balaji leg-cutter. Kamal finally lost his patience after this, as four overs later, he lost his wicket to the same bowler, ending an innings of 91, which included 14 fours.

Balaji completed his five-wicket haul as he picked up the #11, Naved-ul-Hassan, with the Pakistan score at 213 off 86.4 overs. Though as per the innings change rule, India needed to bat one over before close of play, a slow over rate earlier in the day meant that the end of Pakistan’s innings signalled the end of the day as well.

Pakistan 312 all out in 86.4 overs
Taufeeq Umar 44, Inzamam-ul-Haq 57, Asim Kamal 91, IK Pathan 2/68, L Balaji 5/76, A Kumble 2/76

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Sudeep Popat