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Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
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Bangalore Test

India Draws A Won Series

In the end, the Pakistani aggression and attack was too much for a defensive Indian batting that caved in under pressure to give the tourists a thrilling series-levelling win, with six overs to spare.

India Draws A Won Series
| AP
India Draws A Won Series
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

A determined Pakistan restored their pride with a thrilling 168-run win over arch rivals India in the third and final Test, exploiting an inept batting display by the hosts to level the series 1-1 today.

The Indians, facing a daunting target of 383 for a victory, seemed to be weighed down by the target and paid a heavy price for their defensive approach as they were bundled out for 214 with just six overs left on a pulsating fifth day at the M Chinaswamy stadium.

After a promising start when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir put on 87 runs for the opening stand, the hosts seemed to pull down the shutters a little prematurely after the the in-form Sehwag's dismissal.

The resulting defensive tactic backfired on a pitch of variable bounce as they suffered a middle order collapse. From 164 for seven, the lower order, led by Anil Kumble (37 not out) waged a courageous battle but their efforts went in vain and the end came with six overs remaining in the day's play.

It was a fantastic Pakistani team effort with Shahid Afridi (3-13) delivering the crucial blows, including the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman and Saurav Ganguly.

Mohammad Sami (2-84) and Danish Kaneria (2-46) kept coming back at the Indians with accurate and probing spells while off-spinner Arshad Khan, in his comeback match after four years, pitched in with 2-21.

The memorable win helped Pakistan level the series and shed the underdog tag attached to them at the start of the tour while the Indians let go an opportunity to become the second highest ranked team for the first time ever.

A draw would have put them on par with England, instead they now remain in the third place in the ICC Test team rankings.

If only one of the big guns had fired. As it were, the quartet of Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman could muster just 39 runs between them.

Tendulkar (16) in the process became India's highest run-getter surpassing Sunil Gavaskar's aggregate of 10,122 when he reached five.

But for Dravid (16), it was another extreme from scoring two centuries for the second time in Kolkata.

Kumble waged a lone battle towards the end with a counter-attacking 37 that came from 52 balls with seven fours.

Although the number of overs remaining for the day kept dwindling to add to the gripping climax, the Pakistanis knew the prey was bleeding and it was a matter of time the kill was completed.

Younis Khan, with a record double century in the first innings, was named man-of-the-match.

It would have been of little consolation for Sehwag that he was adjudged man-of-the-series after his innings was cut short by wrong calling by his opening partner Gautam Gambhir.

Afridi (2-10) struck twice in the post lunch session to derail the Indian innings.

Pakistan got their first breakthrough when Sehwag (38) was run out by a direct hit by Abdul Razzaq in the morning session.

Resuming at 25 for no loss, India made a cautious start. But it was not long before Sehwag opened his shoulders and launched into the rival bowling.

Sehwag hit three successive fours of Razzaq in his second over and an uppish off drive off Kaneria beat the mid off fielder.

Sehwag was beginning to collar the Pakistani attack when the run out came against run of play.

Gambhir called for a single after nudging Kaneria to mid on. But when he sent Sehwag back, it was too late and Razzaq's accurate throw knocked down the stumps at non-striker's end, much to the relief of his teammates.

Sehwag's 38 came from 53 balls, spanned 104 minutes and contained six fours.

Gambhir reached his second career 50 with a single off Kaneria. But in the second over after lunch, he was adjudged leg before to Mohammad Sami.

Ten runs later, Dravid prodded at off-spinner Arshad Khan, and Younis at silly point plucked out of thin air a sharp reflex catch.

Afridi then trapped Laxman (5) plumb in front with a faster one before he left Ganguly (2) in disbelief with a huge leg break that knocked his off stump.

Tendulkar remained on five, the runs he needed to go past Gavaskar, for 55 minutes before he turned Kaneria down to third man.

The Mumbai batsman was reprieved when Asim Kamal failed to hold on to a catch at forward shortleg when Tendulkar was caught off guard by a rising delivery from Sami.

Kamal however made amends for it as he made no mistake the second time when Afridi forced a bat-pad catch from the master batsman.

The Pakistani spinners bowled a tight line and length. At one stage, Kaneria continuously bowled five maiden overs. The field set up was attacking too, eight men around the bat in umbrella formation.

Pathan was somewhat unlucky when his straightforward defence to Arshad bounced off his boot to Youhana at silly point.

Although he was out for zero, his association with Kumble for the eighth wicket was worth 25 runs.

Harbhajan Singh (8) lasted 22 balls before Kaneria had him caught by Younis.

Kumble chose attack as his mode of defence but Pakistan cleverly concentrated on the other end.

Kaneria brought the curtains down on a thrilling encounter when he had Lakshmipathy Balaji (0) leg before.

PTI

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