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Younis double ton hoists Pakistan
Ashish Magotra |
March 25, 2005 12:52 IST
Last Updated: March 25, 2005 17:53 IST
Younis Khan hit a gritty 267 as Pakistan amassed 570 in their first innings on day 2 in the third Test against India at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Friday.
The 27-year-old Pakistan vice-captain scored 32 fours and a six in his 504-ball essay, lasting near 11-and-a-half hours. It was the highest total by a Pakistani batsman in India, surpassing Saeed Anwar's 188 not out in Kolkata in 1999. He was involved in a 324-run stand for the third wicket with skipper Inzamam-ul Haq (184) and added 84 for the fourth with Yousuf Youhana (37).
Off spinner Harbhajan Singh was India's leading wicket-taker, claiming six wickets for 152, including the scalp of Younis.
In reply, India were 55 without loss. Virender Sehwag was unbeaten on a 33-ball 39, including five fours and straight six, while Gautam Gaambhir was on 13 off 29 at stumps.
For the second time in two days, Laxmipathy Balaji struck off his first ball of the day. This time it was the big wicket of Inzamam.
All of day 1 the ball hardly moved, but Balaji got the first delivery of the day to pitch in line with the middle stump and straighten. Inzamam (184) played down the wrong line and was hit on the pad, plumb in front of the stumps. (331 for 3)
This was exactly the start India was looking for. The partnership for the third wicket was worth 324.
Next man in was Yousuf Youhana.
In Kolkata, a 211-run partnership between Youhana and Younis helped Pakistan into a position of great strength before the rest of the batsmen threw it away.
In Kolkata they were trying to resurrect the innings; here they needed to go for quick runs. But the approach of the batsmen remained the same.
After 111 overs in the innings, Ganguly took Balaji out of the attack. It was a strange move, because Balaji looked the bowler most likely to get a wicket.
Still, the batsmen continued to look for singles when they could have gone for the big hits. Nothing wrong with the strategy but it meant that even when there was a bad ball, the Pakistanis often got only a single.
Inzamam, on Day 1, was devastating because of his ability to put away the bad ball. Younis, 135 not out at this stage, needed to take over now. But he didn't quite.
The runs continued to flow, but had they come at a quicker pace the Indians would have been really hard-pressed. However, this was a situation where both Ganguly and the Pakistani batsmen looked content. Neither wanted to try and take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Younis reached 150 off 300 balls and looked all set to get another very big hundred. But he was also playing a dangerous game, trying to bait the Indians by keeping up a constant chatter.
Eighty-four runs came in this manner before Habrhajan got the wicket of Youhana. The ball pitched outside the off stump and turned in; Youhana moved across and tried to cut it away. The ball kissed the edge on the high end of the bat and Karthik, behind the wicket, held on to a difficult catch. (415 for 4)
Asim Kamal was in next. The first thing Ganguly needed to do at this point was attack; get close-in fielders and put the new batsman under pressure.
Harbhajan was bowling a lot better than yesterday. He was prepared to give the ball more air and, as a result, was getting more turn and bounce. It was good bowling from Bajji and India needed Kumble to do the same as well.
At lunch, after 26 overs in the session, Pakistan had scored 417 for 4 wickets. The visitors added 94 runs in the session and lost two wickets.
Post- Lunch session
The post-lunch session was one in which Pakistan looked to score enough runs so that they would have not have to bat again on this pitch, now starting to help the bowlers a lot.
But their tactics were again odd, to say the least. They should have been looking to drive home their advantage, but were pegged back by wickets and a supreme effort by Harbhajan, who bowled unchanged from one end throughout the session and did not use his 'doosra' at all.
Pakistan needed 219 balls to move from 400 to 500, this despite having a well-set batsman at the crease. Younis reached his double century in due course and became only the sixth Pakistani to reach the landmark in India.
But he was lucky to reach the landmark. 13 balls into the session, the Pakistan vice-captain edged a delivery from Balaji straight through first and second slip. Laxman, at second slip, reacted a little late and the result was four runs for the batsman.
Just three overs into the session, Kamal (4) played an uncharacteristically rash sweep shot and managed only a top-edge to give Harbhajan a huge morale-booster. The Indian offie, like any bowler, feeds on success and this was a gift. (428 for 5)
The ball pitched outside the leg-stump and was turning into the batsman. Kamal could have well left it again. The result of this wicket was such that Harbhajan started giving even more air and grew in confidence.
Ganguly did the right thing by allowing Harbhajan to bowl unchanged from one end. He and Balaji have looked the only bowlers capable of getting a breakthrough.
Kumble was trying, as he always does, but with little success. The disappointment in this game has been Pathan. Balaji looks like taking a wicket every time he bowls but Pathan appeared tired and worn out, hardly able to get any swing.
Abdul Razzaq, the new batsman, did not last too long, scoring just five runs before being deceived in the air by Harbhajan. (446 for 6)
The Pakistan all-rounder was tied up by the bowlers and in the 10.2 overs that he was at the wicket, only 18 runs were scored.
Kamran Akmal (28) walked in next and put on 58 runs with Younis before he was beaten by a huge turner from Harbhajan. The ball pitched outside the off-stump and turned in sharply to beat Kamran's attempted cut shot. (504 for 7)
In the 30-over session, 87 runs were scored at the cost of three wickets. The run-rate for the session was just 2.90.
Post Tea session
The cricket Pakistan played after the break was not only baffling but also immensely boring. If the intention of the visitors was to give Younis a chance to reach his triple hundred, then the execution was very bad.
That only disturbed the Pakistanis state of mind. Balaji had been India's best bowler after Harbhajan. After a break he invariably comes back and swings the ball. But what does Ganguly do? He does not give Balaji a bowl at all and persists with Pathan and Kumble from one end and Harbhajan from the other.
Younis and Sami got stuck in a rut and the Indian bowlers had virtually nothing to do with it. Yes, Harbhajan was bowling well and but other than that there was little pressure on the Pakistanis.
They needed to go out there and hammer away. Instead, they were content to tap the ball around for singles. They could have been trying to frustrate the Indians. But, in reality, all they were doing was showing that they had no idea as to what they were doing in the middle.
61 runs were added off 20 overs before a misunderstanding between Younis and Sami finally brought some excitement to the proceedings and an end to the 61-run partnership.
Sami pushed the ball to the mid-wicket region and set off for a quick single. But Gambhir moved quickly. Younis turned his back on his partner, who was stranded in the middle of the pitch. (565 for 8)
The end came quickly after that. The message from the dressing room was obvious: go for the runs. But Younis had been stuck in the slow mode for so long that he now found it difficult to play his shots.
On 256, Younis became the holder of the highest individual score by a visitor in India. He went past West Indian great Rohan Kanhai's record 256, which was made in Kolkata during the 1956 series.
Younis (267, including 32 boundaries and a six) succumbed soon after and fittingly it was India's best bowler on the day, Harbhajan, who got the wicket. The ball was tossed up outside the off-stump. The right-hander swung hard and skied the ball over extra cover where Pathan made no mistake. (569 for 9)
It was the end of an epic innings that had lasted 504 balls. But it paled in contrast to Inzamam's free-flowing knock. This was a gritty knock and these are the kind of innings that can save Tests but when you are looking to win, you need to score a little bit faster.
Kaneria slammed the first ball he faced straight to Laxman at deep mid-wicket to give Harbhajan his sixth wicket and put an end to the Pakistan innings. (570 all out)
Kumble ended up with the figures of 46-8-159-0, the most runs he has ever conceded without getting a wicket.
Virender Sehwag is a character like no other. He comes out all guns blazing and looks to hammer the bowlers regardless of what opposition he is facing. He sets the tenor of the innings and very often gives all those sitting in the dressing room a huge lift.
Watching Sehwag bat with such ease made one wonder what exactly were Pakistan trying to do all day.
His knock was studded with five boundaries and had a strike rate of 118.18.
At the end of day's play, India had replied aggressively to Pakistan's huge total by reaching 55 after just ten overs. Gautam Gambhir on 13 off 29 and Sehwag on 39 off just 33 balls were at the crease.