Pakistan struggling to save second Test against India

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali

Kolkata(IANS) : Wasim Jaffer hammered a double hundred while V.V.S. Laxman and Sourav Ganguly slammed centuries to help India take control of the second cricket Test against Pakistan here Saturday.

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India, 1-0 ahead in the series, cannot lose the match from here while Pakistan face a Herculean task to avoid defeat.

India declared their first innings at an imposing 616 for five wickets — their highest total against Pakistan at home — and then captain Anil Kumble dismissed Yasir Hameed to add to the visitors’ problems by the close of play on the second day at the Eden Gardens.

At stumps, Pakistan were 50 for one wicket, with Salman Butt batting on 26 (64 minutes, 55 balls, 4x4s) and stand-in captain Younis Khan on three.

The visitors still need to score 367 to avoid the follow on, which will not be an easy task on a pitch that is expected to assist the spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.

Jaffer, batting on 192 overnight, duly completed his career’s second double century (202, 401 minutes, 274 balls, 34x4s) and he was followed by Ganguly with his 14th century (102, 246 minutes, 156 balls, 14x4s) and Laxman hit the third hundred of the innings, his 11th, (112 not out, 264 minutes, 178 balls, 15x4s) as the sting-less Pakistani attack went through the motions.

Pakistani bowlers looked completely dispirited, so much so that Younis, left with no option, turned to Butt and Yasir Hameed.

Left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria captured two wickets each but at a cost of 166 and 194 runs respectively.

Pakistan’s pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar, who was down with chest infection just before the match, looked far from fit Saturday and the other Pakistani bowlers lacked sting. The Indian batsmen revelled, scoring at will and runs came at a fair clip on a pitch that frustrated the bowlers.

Jaffer and Ganguly resumed the Indian innings at the overnight 352 for three and the Mumbaikar soon got to his second double century in one and half years. His previous one had come against the West Indies at St. John’s, Antigua, in June last year.

Jaffer eventually fell, chasing a wide delivery from left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir as he tried to steer the ball to third man but only managed to edge it to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal.

Laxman, who scored a fabulous 281 against Australia here in 2001, and Ganguly, who had never scored a century at his home ground, took the cue from Jaffer and carried on unhindered.

Hyderbadi Laxman, watched by his city mate Mohammed Azharuddin, after whom he has modelled his batting, played some exquisite drives and off-the-pad shots to entertain the former India captain, among others, sitting in the pavilion.

He went on to complete his first century against Pakistan on the ground where he and Rahul Dravid helped India win a historic Test against Australia after being forced to follow-on in 2001.

Ganguly also enthralled the spectators with his left-handed grace. His flowing drives and pulls brought the swelling crowd to its feet. While he was batting the stadium was almost packed, barring just a few thousands of its 100,000 capacity.

Ganguly was, however, lucky to survive a chance at 63. As he tried to fend the Akhtar bouncer the ball flew to a diving Yasir Hameed at gully but he dropped it.

Vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni chipped in with a 50 (95 minutes, 82 balls, 6x4s, 1×6) and soon as he reached his eighth half-century in his 22nd Test, Kumble declared the innings closed.

In fading light, Butt and Hameed scored 38 runs before Kumble won a leg-before-wicket verdict against the latter.

In 16 overs of batting, Pakistan managed 50 without losing a second wicket. But a real test of temperament and patience await Butt, Younis and the rest of the players tomorrow.


Day Two, Second Test, India-Pakistan, Eden Gardens, Kolkata

India (1st innings, overnight 352/3):
Wasim Jaffer c Akmal b Tanveer 202
Dinesh Karthik c Younis b Tanveer 1
Rahul Dravid c Akmal b Kaneria 50
Sachin Tendulkar b Kaneria 82
Sourav Ganguly c Tanveer b Butt 102
V.V.S. Laxman not out 112
Mahendra Singh Dhoni not out 50
Extras: (byes 8, leg byes 5, wide 1, no balls 3) 17
Total: (for five wickets decl. in 152.5 overs) 616

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Karthik, 1.1 overs), 2-138 (Dravid, 40.1), 3-313 (Tendulkar, 75.3), 4-375 (Jaffer, 91.1), 5-538 (Ganguly, 129.6)


Shoaib Akhtar 24 2 84 0 (1w)
Sohail Tanvir 39 6 166 2 (1nb)
Mohammad Sami 29 2 99 0 (2nb)
Danish Kaneria 50 7 194 2
Yasir Hameed 4 0 24 0
Salman Butt 6.5 0 36 1

Pakistan (1st innings):

Salman Butt batting 26
Yasir Hameed lbw b Kumble 21
Younis Khan batting 3
Total: (for one wicket in 16 overs) 50

Fall of wicket: 1-38 (Hameed, 7.5 overs)


Zaheer Khan 1.2 0 2 0
Munaf Patel 3 0 22 0
Harbhajan Singh 6.4 2 14 0
Anil Kumble 5 1 12 1

Umpires: Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) and Billy Doctrove (West Indies) Third umpire: Amiesh Saheba (India)
Fourth umpire: K.G. Laxminarayan (India)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)