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Younis century to Pakistan's rescue
Harish Kotian in Kolkata | December 04, 2007 12:10 IST
Last Updated: December 04, 2007 16:37 IST
Younis Khan's unbeaten century helped Pakistan escape with a draw in the second Test against India at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Set a target of 345 to win the match in 81 overs, Pakistan finished on 214 for 4 courtesy a brilliant 107 not out from stand-in captain Younis.
He and senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf [Images] (44 not out) were involved in an unbroken stand of 136 runs for the fifth wicket that thwarted India.
Earlier, India declared their second innings at 184 for 4 in 42.4 overs after batting for nearly 38 minutes in the morning session.
Wasim Jaffer [Images] was again the top scorer with 56, following his 202 in the first innings.
India scored 616 for 5 in the first innings before bowling out Pakistan for 456.
They lead the three-Test series 1-0 after the six-wicket victory in the opening Test in Delhi.
Resuming at 141 for 2, India started positively in a bid to add quick runs before declaring. Both Dhoni [Images] and Ganguly found it difficult to hit the big shots, but were helped by Pakistan's poor fielding.
Dhoni slammed a powerful boundary through the backward point region off Shoaib Akhtar [Images] before falling to the very next delivery. He was deceived by the slower delivery from Shoaib which came in sharply and bowled him for 37.
Ganguly tried valiantly to hit a few boundaries off Shoaib but found his bouncers hard to handle. He fell for 46 when he tried to hit him through the leg side, missed and the ball crashed into his leg stump.
India immediately declared their innings at 184 for 4 after 42.4 overs, setting Pakistan a huge target of 345 in 81 overs.
India added 43 runs for the loss of two wickets in the 6.4 overs they played in the morning session on the final day.
Shoaib was again the pick of the Pakistan bowlers as he claimed 2 for 46 in 12.4 overs, while Danish Kaneria took 2 for 61 in 15 overs.
It was Zaheer who struck the first blow when he dismissed Hameed caught and bowled for 14 in the sixth over of the innings.
Salman Butt and Akmal then shut shop and played only for survival, making it clear that Pakistan were going to play for a draw.
At lunch, Pakistan were 37 for 1 in 20 overs, with Butt on 8 from 54 deliveries and Akmal unbeaten on 14 from 40 deliveries.
They need another 308 runs in 61 overs to win the match and it seems unlikely they will go for the runs.
Kumble struck with the second ball after lunch when he bowled Akmal for 14. Pakistan's wicketkeeper, who scored a century in the first innings, tried to play on the leg-side but failed to connect and was bowled.
Butt was the third wicket to fall, trapped leg before wicket by Kumble for 11.
In-form Misbah-ul Haq was promoted ahead of Mohammad Younus in the batting order given his run of scores in the series, but the experiment backfired as he was dismissed cheaply by Munaf Patel [Images] for 6. The pacer deceived Pakistan's best batsman of the series so far with a cleverly disguised slow off-cutter which went through the gap between bat and pad.
Pakistan were reduced to 78 for 4 in the 40th over and India sensed a real chance provided they could continue taking wickets regularly.
It was now left to captain Younis Khan to lead from the front and rescue his team. He started off well and denied India another wicket. He hit three boundaries in the last three overs before tea to complete his half-century.
At tea on the final day, Pakistan were 126 for 4 in 52 overs, with Younis unbeaten on 53 from 109 deliveries, including six boundaries. Mohammad Yousuf was giving him company on 12 from 32 deliveries, inclusive of two boundaries.
The visitors need another 219 runs in 29 overs to win the Test.
The Indian bowlers toiled after lunch as they bowled 36 overs and claimed three important wickets. They need to get one more wicket quickly and have a go at the Pakistani tail-enders.
Kumble was India's top bowler in the session, claiming 2 for 41 in 19 overs. Harbhajan got a lot of help from the wicket but failed to take any wicket.
Younis continued milking the runs after tea and hit two boundaries in six deliveries he faced after the break to move to 64.
Yousuf got two boundaries in a single over off Kumble to take Pakistan to 155 for 4 after 58 overs. The Indian captain bowled eight overs in tandem with Harbhajan before giving way to part-timer Sachin Tendulkar [Images].
With just 18 overs left in the day and six wickets in hand, Pakistan's chances of holding out for a draw grew with every passing delivery. The spinners got ood turn but not enough pace and bounce to trouble the Pakistan batsmen.
The two batsmen brought up their 100-run partnership in the 67th over, with Younis looking good on 85 not out, while Yousuf was not out on 31.
Kumble tried everything in his arsenal but it was too much of a task to break through the defences of Younis and Yousuf. The pitch on the fifth day seemed as good for batting as it was on the first and unless the batsmen made a mistake, it was difficult to get their wicket.
Younis completed his century, his fifth against India, with a reverse sweep boundary off Harbhajan in the 75th over. His 15th Test century took 174 deliveries and included 14 boundaries. It was also his second century at the Eden Gardens, his previous one being on the last tour in 2004-05.
Pakistan were 214 for 4 in 77 overs, and with just five overs remaining Kumble agreed to end proceedings.
Younis finished, whose knowk was studded with 14 boundaries, single-handedly guided his team to a deserving draw. Yousuf also got back among the runs.
In the end, it was too much of a task even for the experienced Indian bowling to claim 10 wickets in two-and-half sessions, on such a placid wicket.
Kumble bowled 25 overs, taking 2 for 73, for a match tally of 5 wickets for 195 runs. Harbhajan, though, disappointed as he went wicketless even after bowling 31 overs on the final day.
India should not be too disappointed with the draw, since it was they who went for the safety-first approach and decided to bat a few overs in the morning. However, they still looked the better side. If their batsmen continue to flourish they can do well in Bangalore too.