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Maiden honours for Ganguly, Pathan
Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 09, 2007 11:52 IST
Last Updated: December 09, 2007 18:27 IST
Salman Butt [Images] led a solid reply from Pakistan after Sourav Ganguly's [Images] maiden Test double century carried India to 626 in their first innings on day two of the third and final Test against Pakistan in Bangalore on Sunday.
Pakistan were 86 for one at the end of the day, with Salman Butt continuing his good run of form with an unbeaten 50, which was studded with nine boundaries.
It was, however, Ganguly who stole the show on the day with his vintage batting as he made a magnificent 239, hitting 30 boundaries and two sixes in 361 deliveries.
Irfan Pathan [Images] also enjoyed his outing with the bat as he posted his maiden Test century. Pathan, who made 102, added 178 runs for the seventh wicket as India made the most of batting on a good wicket.
In the absence of Shoaib Akhtar [Images], Pakistan found it really hard to make any sort of impression against the left-hander, who looked in absolute command. Debutant Yasir Arafat was the most successful bowler for Pakistan as he took five for 161 in his 39 overs.
Yuvraj Singh [Images] smashed a magnificent 169 on day one, adding 300 runs for the fifth wicket with Ganguly as India recovered in quite after being reduced to 61 for 4.
India lead the three-match series 1-0. They won the first Test in Delhi by six wickets, while the second Test in Kolkata ended in a draw.
For Dinesh Karthik [Images] this knock was particularly important, having failed in his four previous innings in this series. He enjoyed some luck too when he survived a close leg before wicket appeal on seven against Mohammad Sami [Images] in the 92nd over.
Resuming on 125, Sourav Ganguly continued scoring runs at will and the two boundaries he hit off Yasir Arafat in the 95th over showed how much control he was in.
He unleashed a powerful shot in Arafat's next over to signal his dominance in the middle. This was followed by Karthik's boundary through covers as India crossed the 400-run mark. The Pakistan fielding was once again a let down and some of the mistakes made them look like novices on the field.
Ganguly, meanwhile, completed his 150 with a single on the off-side, hitting 23 boundaries in 241 deliveries as India reached 407 for 5 after 100 overs. It was clear the veteran left-hander was in the best form of his life and he was making the most of it, with two centuries in consecutive Tests.
Just when Karthik seemed to have settled a bit after a nervous start, he edged behind a wide outswinging delivery from Arafat for 24.
At the other end, Ganguly was in supreme touch and once Kaneria was introduced, he was on the lookout for the loft down the ground. On one such occasion he didn't get the desired lift and ended up hitting it straight back at the leg-spinner's foot injuring him in the process.
In the 113th over, however, the left-hander gave himself a bit of room and launched Kaneria deep into the stands over long-off to move to 164.
Ganguly was unbeaten on 169 and Pathan was not out on 18 as India reached a healthy 461 for 6 at lunch.
India added 96 runs in 27 overs in the morning session with Ganguly leading the charge.
Yuvraj Singh smashed a magnificent 169 on day one, adding 300 runs for the fifth wicket with Ganguly to lead India's push for a huge score as they recovered in style after a few early wickets.
Post lunch session:
Pathan made India's intentions clear after lunch when he stepped down and hit Kaneria for a straight boundary through long-on region in the first over after the break.
Ganguly got a lucky boundary, his first after lunch, when an edge off Sami flew past the slips and he then registered his best Test score with a double to move to 175. His previous best score was 173 against Sri Lanka [Images] in Mumbai in 1997-98.
Suddenly it looked as if the match was being played at the Eden Gardens as chants of "Dada, Dada" filled the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Arafat was welcomed for a new spell with a blistering straight boundary by Ganguly as he moved to 188. The left-hander brought up India's 500 with a single in the covers as the huge Sunday gathering erupted in unison.
The veteran left-hander smashed another boundary in Arafat's next to race to 195. He was stuck on 197 for around 11 deliveries before a single and a double through the covers took him to his maiden Test double century.
The whole stadium gave him a standing ovation, genuinely appreciating the entertainment he had provided in the two days.
Ganguly's double century took 324 deliveries, included 26 boundaries and a six, and was by far one of his better knocks in Test cricket.
Things just could not get better for the Prince of Kolkata or as a banner in the crowd read 'the King of Bengaluroo'.
Just a few days he had scored his first Test century at his home ground, in Kolkata, and now his first double century -- he was gaining from strength to strength.
The 100-run partnership between Ganguly and Pathan came up when the latter got a thick edge off Kaneria that went to the third man boundary. Two balls later Pathan brought up his seventh Test half-century with a single to fine leg in the 133 rd over of the innings.
With part-timer Salman Butt in operation it was proving to be very easy for India. Pathan needed no further invitation as he stepped down the wicket and lofted Butt over mid-wicket for a six as India crossed the 550 mark in the 136th over. Ganguly followed it up with an even better and bigger six in the next over from Kaneria as India started to increase the scoring rate.
Pathan hit Butt over the cover boundary for his second six and also brought up the 150-run partnership with Ganguly in just 190 deliveries.
Ganguly hit two consecutive boundaries off Yasir Hameed [Images] to move to 235 and go past Vinod Kambli's 227 for the highest score by an Indian left-hander. Another Pathan six over mid-wicket in the 143 rd over took India past 600 and the left-hander advanced to 88 in just 113 deliveries.
Ganguly's magnificent knock finally ended when he was bowled by Kaneria for 239. The left-hander tried to play a sweep shot, but missed and ball ended on his stumps in the 145 th over. He walked back to a standing ovation from the crowd after a delightful knock, that saw him dish out a treat of 30 boundaries and two sixes in 361 deliveries in his near eight and half hour stay at the crease.
Pathan also remained on course for his maiden Test century as he was 93 not out at the tea break. India reached a mammoth 611 for 7 in 147 overs at the end of the second session on day two.
Yet another session was dominated by left-handers and Pakistan were once asking running for cover with the hosts scoring 150 runs in 30 overs. It rained fours and sixes in the session and Ganguly's double century was a real delight for his fans here.
It remains to be seen how much long India would carry on batting and if they would continue even after Pathan gets to his hundred. Pakistan are trailing 0-1 in the series and need to make something happen, but for the moment they are just doing the chasing.
Post tea session:
Kumble fell in the second over after the tea break when he was dismissed leg before wicket by Kaneria for four.
Harbhajan Singh [Images] hit the first ball he faced straight down past the bowler for a boundary, but fell four balls later. He was bowled by Arafat for 4 to become the debutant's fifth victim of the innings as India slipped to 620 for nine. The 25-year-old pacer became the fourth Pakistani to take five wickets in an innings in his debut match.
Pathan now needed just four runs for his century and it remained to be seen whether last man Ishant Sharma could hang on. Sharma did manage to play out the five deliveries and quite deservedly got a huge cheer huge from the fans.
Pathan then brought up his maiden Test century in style with a huge six off Kaneria over wide long-on. It took him 113 deliveries to get to the landmark and included 10 boundaries and four huge sixes.
But sadly for the crowd, he fell off the very next delivery attempting another big shot. He tried to loft Kaneria over mid-wicket but holed it high and Akmal completed an easy match.
India were bowled out for a mammoth 626 in 150.2 overs in their first innings with Pathan the last wicket to fall for 102.
Arafat was Pakistan's most successful bowler as he took 5 for 161 in 39 overs, while Kaneria finished with 3 for 168 in 46.2 overs.
But it was India's batting that was the talking point till now as they took full toll of the depleted Pakistan bowling. It was an amazing turnaround by the hosts to reach this huge score and that too after being reduced to 61 for 4 in the morning session on day one.
It would take another Herculean effort by the Pakistani batsman if they are to make a match out of this or atleast save their team. They managed to escape with a draw in Kolkata courtesy of some gritty batting in both the innings and they would hope for a repeat show here.
Pakistan got off to a good start with both the pacers, Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma, unable to generate any assistance from the pitch. The ball was coming on to the bat nicely just like it happened in India's innings as Pakistan raced to 51 for no loss after 13 overs.
Even Anil Kumble [Images] was not spared as Salman Butt carted him for two boundaries off the first two deliveries he bowled in the match.
Ishant, playing in just his second Test, got the ball to beat the batsmen a few times but struggled mostly with no-balls in his first spell. Pathan, realizing nothing much happening even with the new ball kept it tight in his first spell.
It was Kumble, though, who struck the first blow much to the delight of his home fans. He trapped Hameed leg before wicket with a full delivery that struck him right in front of the stumps for 19 in the 17 th over.
Ishant came back for his second spell but was smashed for four boundaries in a single over. Left-hander Butt hit him for three boundaries through the leg-side as Ishant kept bowling on the batsman's pads, while Younis cracked a short delivery through point.
In the next over, Butt brought up his half-century when he swept Kumble through square leg for a boundary.
At close on day two, Pakistan reached 86 for 1 in 27 overs, still trailing India's first innings score by 540 runs.
Butt was unbeaten on a brisk 50, having hit nine boundaries in 85 deliveries, while Younis was not out on 7.
The pitch is still good for batting and even Indian bowlers toiled in the final session of play to make any impression at all on the batsmen. They are no doubt banking on the spin duo of Kumble and Harbhajan Singh and are hoping that they can get some assistance on day three. Pakistan , meanwhile, would be quite content to keep batting as long as they can for that is their best chance of survival in this match.