India beat Pakistan in Test series at home after 27 years

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali, IANS

Bangalore : India recorded a series victory at home against Pakistan after 27 years with a 1-0 margin as the third and final Test ended in a draw, but not before skipper Anil Kumble brought his side tantalisingly close to winning it here Wednesday.

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India won the first Test in Delhi while the second Tests in Kolkata end in a drawn. India dominated the series after winning in Delhi as they ran up 600 plus scores to make sure they did not lose the Kolkata and Bangalore Tests.

Kumble, perhaps, did not think a victory was possible in the final Test here on the last day even though the pitch cracked up and had uneven bounce. He himself came up with a five-wicket burst late in the afternoon, after setting Pakistan an impossible target of 374 runs in 48 overs, for a sensational finish.

The sudden slump set panic in the Pakistani camp. From a 44 for no loos, they were reduced 162 for seven when dark clouds descended over the city. The floodlights were witched on to improve the light, but the playing conditions did not allow the use of artificial lights. The poor visibility eventually ended the game with 12 more overs to be bowled.

Kumble began the onslaught by taking two wickets in the 14th over and that opened the floodgates as Pakistan lost their next five wickets in 17 balls. Mohammad Yousuf, who came in to bat late in the order, was left with the tail-enders and India seemed well on the course to an improbable victory.

The umpires came to the Pakistanis’ rescue offering Mohammed Yousuf (10) and Mohammed Sami (4) the light and they gladly accepted. The Indian team stayed on the field for quite some time discussing with the umpires and hoping that the light would improve for the to go for the kill.

Soon the umpires called off play with no signs of the light improving.

Pakistan, who had made 537 in their first innings, finished at 162 for seven. India had scored 626 and declared their second innings at 284 for six wickets.

It was captain Kumble’s first series as Test captain and, quite aptly, he received the winner’s trophy at his home ground.

The last time Pakistan lost a Test series in India was in 1979, when Asif Iqbal’s team lost 0-2 to India captained by Sunil Gavaskar in the six-match series.

Set to score the runs at 7.79 per over, Pakistan never looked like chasing the target. And when they lost Yasir Hameed (39) and stand-in captain Younis Khan (0) in four balls of a Kumble over, the Indian hopes soared and Pakistan were left struggling to save the game.

Kumble again struck twice, this time off successive balls, in the 32nd over and that suddenly lighted the atmosphere. He had Faisal Iqbal (51, 68 minutes, 54 balls, 8x4s) playing an atrocious swipe and Kamran Akmal (0), who was bamboozled by a faster one. But Yousuf denied him the hat-trick.

Kumble, however, soon completed his 34th five-wicket haul as Pakistan crumbled.

But that was not to be as Yuvraj Singh, bowling from the pavilion end, clean bowled the dogged Misbah-ul-Haq (37, 50 minutes, 39 balls, 7x4s) and Yasir Arafat (0). It was Yuvraj’s best bowling figures in Tests.

In the hindsight one might think the declaration, which was made an hour after lunch, came too late in the day to give the Indian bowlers enough time to try and bowl the opposition out.

Earlier, Sourav Ganguly notched a fine 91 (187 minutes, 134 balls, 12x4s, 1×6) and Dinesh Karthik finally scored some runs in the series (52, 94 minutes, 67 balls, 8x4s, 1×6) before the declaration.

India started the day at 131 for two, with Rahul Dravid batting on 35 and Ganguly on 63. Dravid became the first victim of the day as leg-spinner Kaneria deceived Dravid (42, 212 minutes, 121 balls, 5x4s) with a well-disguised googly.

Ganguly and Dravid, who looked in good nick but failed to play a long innings, raised 152 for the third wicket off 235 balls. Ganguly was in great form and looked to set score his second century of the match. The former captain also completed 1,000 runs in the year during the knock.

However, the left-hander’s effort to become the seventh batsman to score a double and century in a Test fell short by nine runs as he square-cut pacer Sami straight to Faisal Iqbal at gully.

Yuvraj, who has been in sublime form and scored a century in the first innings, failed as he was adjudged caught behind by umpire Rudi Koertzen, though the replays did not suggest he had nicked the ball.

V.V.S. Laxman then hurt his elbow and retired as he tried to duck to a short one from Shoaib Akhtar. That gave Dinesh Karthik an opportunity to bat himself into form. The wicketkeeper-batsman hit Kaneria for 14 runs in one over, including two boundaries and a six. He went on to complete his half-century, which probably helped him get a berth in the 16-member squad for the Australian tour.

Irfan Pathan remained unbeaten on 21.

Day 5, Third Test, India vs. Pakistan, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore,

India (1st innings): 626
Pakistan (1st innings): 537

India (2nd innings, overnight 131/2):
Wasim Jaffer lbw b Arafat 18
Gautam Gambhir b Shoaib Akhtar 3
Rahul Dravid lbw b Kaneria 42
Sourav Ganguly c Iqbal b Sami 91
V.V.S. Laxman retired hurt 14
Yuvraj Singh c Akmal b Sami 2
Dinesh Karthik c Akmal b Arafat 52
Irfan Pathan not out 21
Extras: (byes 9, leg byes 24, wide 1, no balls 7) 41
Total: (for 6 wickets declared in 76.3 overs) 284

Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Gambhir, 6.4 overs), 2-26 (Jaffer, 12.5), 3-178 (Dravid, 51.4), 4-178 (Ganguly, 52.1), 5-184 (Yuvraj, 54.6), 5-225* (Laxman, retired hurt, 62.3), 6-284 (Karthik, 76.3)
Shoaib Akhtar 17 6 43 1
Mohammad Sami 20 2 63 2 (2nb, 1w)
Yasir Arafat 13.3 3 49 2 (1nb)
Danish Kaneria 26 2 96 1

Pakistan (2nd innings):
Salman Butt c Karthik b Kumble 8
Yasir Hameed b Kumble 39
Younis Khan c & b Kumble 0
Faisal Iqbal c Sharma b Kumble 51
Misbah-ul-Haq b Yuvraj 37
Kamran Akmal b Kumble 0
Mohammad Yousuf not out 10
Yasir Arafat b Yuvraj 0
Mohammed Sami not out 4
Extras: (b 12, lb 1) 13
Total: (for seven wickets in 36 overs) 162

Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Hameed, 13.3 overs), 2-44 (Younis, 13.6), 3-73 (Salman, 21.1), 4-144 (Iqbal, 31.4), 5-144 (Akmal, 31.5), 6-148 (Misbah, 32.5), 7-154 (Arafat, 34.2)

Result: Draw
Series: India win 1-0
Man of the Match: Sourav Ganguly
Man of the Series: Sourav Ganguly
Umpires: Simon Taufel (Australia) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa)
Third umpire: G.A. Pratapkumar (India)
Fourth umpire: Suhas Phadkar (India)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)