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Ishant, Ganguly take Day 4 honours
Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 11, 2007 12:11 IST
Last Updated: December 11, 2007 17:46 IST
Ishant Sharma took five wickets for 118 runs as Pakistan were dismissed for 537 in their first innings on Day 4 of the third and final Test against India at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday.
India's second innings got off to a bad start, but Sourav Ganguly [Images] again sparkled with the bat and scored a fluent 63 not out as India posted 131 for 2 at close of play.
Ganguly, who scored a double century (239) in the first innings continued his golden run with the bat, hitting nine boundaries and a six in his 77-ball knock.
Rahul Dravid [Images] also looked solid in scoring 35 not out, as the two batsmen added 105 runs for the third wicket.
Earlier, Delhi youngster Ishant took four quick wickets to trigger a lower order collapse as Pakistan conceded a first innings lead of 89 runs. Misbah-ul-Haq was left stranded on a fantastic knock of 133 as the visitors lost their last four wickets for 12 runs.
India lead the three-match series 1-0. They won the first Test in Delhi by six wickets, while the second in Kolkata ended in a draw.
India equalled the record for the most extras conceded in a Test when Ishant Sharma bowled a no-ball in the second over of the morning. That extra took the tally to 71, equalling the West Indies [Images], who had conceded 71 extras against Pakistan at Guyana in 1988.
Two deliveries later, Misbah-ul Haq got a perfect half-volley which he hit straight past Ishant for a boundary to move to 60.
Kamran Akmal hit a boundary through square on the off-side to bring up the 100-run partnership with Misbah, as Pakistan continued their fightback.
Akmal brought up his half-century courtesy a streaky boundary through the gully region. The Pakistan wicketkeeper was again proving to be a difficult proposition for the Indian bowlers as he took 10 boundaries to reach his fifty in 83 deliveries.
While Ishant struggled to make any impression, Irfan Pathan's [Images] bowling was a revelation. He was very unlucky not to get a wicket as he not only went past the batsman's outside edge countless times, but also used the short ball to good effect.
India finally got the dubious world record to their name when a leg bye in the 133rd over, bowled by Kumble, took the extras' tally to 72. The record was put up on the giant screen inside the stadium and the crowd responded with a huge cheer as if in celebration of it.
Akmal swept Harbhajan for a boundary in the 134th to help Pakistan avoid the follow-on as the total reached 428 for 5. But he lost his wicket soon after when he was brilliantly stumped by Dinesh Karthik [Images] off Harbhajan.
Akmal went for a drive against Harbhajan, bowling round the wicket, but was beaten by the flight and Karthik completed a neat stumping.
He was dismissed for a top knock of 65, including 12 boundaries, and had once again rescued Pakistan. His 144-run partnership with Misbah for the sixth wicket saw the visitors thwart the follow-on and give India a strong reply.
Misbah was unbeaten on 99 as Pakistan reached 470 for 6 in 147 overs at the lunch break. They now trail India's first innings score by 158 runs.
The visitors enjoyed another productive session with the bat, scoring 101 runs in 30 overs. The Indian bowlers did get some help from the pitch but it was not enough to cause any damage.
Pathan bowled a good spell of seven overs before lunch and was unlucky not to get a wicket. Harbhajan also toiled hard and was rewarded with Akmal's wicket, but Anil Kumble [Images] once again looked way below his best. They veteran leg-spinner needs to get back to his wicket ways and strike a few blows as India look to make a match out of it.
Misbah completed his century, off the second ball he faced after lunch, with a boundary to the fine leg region. The right-hander's second hundred of the series came off 258 deliveries and included 13 boundaries.
Yasir Arafat also enjoyed his time with the bat as he raced to 31 with five boundaries, his last one also bringing up Pakistan's 500, in the 155th over.
India opted against taking the third new ball after 160 overs as both Ishant and Pathan got a fair amount of reverse swing. Ishant settled on a nice length outside the off-stump and forced the batsman to come at him.
Arafat, on 44, tried to play an incoming delivery through the off-side but could only drag it back on to his stumps. It was Ishant's second victim of the innings.
He then struck again in his next over with a yorker, the best delivery of the match so far. Mohammad Sami [Images] (1) could watch in disgust as the ball crashed onto his stumps and Pakistan were reduced to 527 for 8.
It kept getting better for Ishant and Delhi youngster struck again, in his third successive over when Shoaib Akhtar [Images] (1) played an incoming delivery straight to Gautam Gambhir [Images] at short leg.
Danish Kaneria started with a bang, smashing the first delivery he faced for a boundary through mid-off. Misbah also decided to take matters in his hands as he stepped down to Kumble and lofted him over the midwicket for a boundary to progress to 133.
However, Ishant finished the innings off in the next over when he bowled a perfect bouncer to Kaneria, who could only fend it back to the bowler. The Delhi youngster, playing in just his second Test, returned fantastic figures of 5 wickets for 118 runs in 33.1 overs as Pakistan were bowled out for 537 in 168.1 overs.
In fact, in his last spell, Ishant ran through the lower order, claiming four wickets for 9 runs in 6.1 overs. Pakistan lost their last four wicket for 12 runs, leaving Misbah stranded on a wonderful innings of 133, which included 17 boundaries in 322 deliveries.
Harbhajan took 2 for 131 in 38 overs, while Pathan also toiled hard on a dead pitch to claim 1 for 80 in 37 overs.
India have a useful lead of 89 runs and it remains to be seen whether they want to keep the match alive or just bat for a draw.
Post tea session:
Wasim Jaffer [Images] hit India's first boundary in the second innings when he dispatched Mohammad Sami through fine-leg in the second over. He hit two more off Sami's third over as the fast bowler again struggled to control the new ball.
However, Shoaib Akhtar struck from the other end when he bowled Gautam Gambhir through the gate for 3. The Delhi left-hander was deceived by a slower delivery that came in sharply and sneaked through the gap between bat and pad. He failed with the bat for the second time in the match and it remains to be seen whether he will make it to the Test team for the Australia tour.
Out walked Rahul Dravid to a huge ovation from his home fans; all they wanted was a big hundred from their hero. The former India captain has struggled in the series so far and will be keen to spend some time in the middle and play a big innings. Also, one wonders whether this could be the Karnataka batsman's last Test knock at home.
Dravid's first stroke was a sweetly-timed boundary through the covers off Arafat in the 15th over. He seems to have learnt from mistakes of the previous innings and played with a straight bat, not fishing at anything wide.
Sourav Ganguly, fresh from a double century in the first innings, started off well. He showed scant respect for Shoaib, smashing him for two boundaries through the off-side in the 18 th over. The veteran left-hander then carted Arafat for three boundaries in the next over to race to 27 from 22 deliveries, including six boundaries.
Ganguly brought up the 50-run partnership for the third wicket with a towering straight six against Kaneria in the 25th over. It seemed the left-hander, who was batting on 35 from 37 deliveries, was looking to score some quick runs to give his bowlers enough time to take 10 wickets, though that equation appears quite impossible.
In his prime Ganguly was one of the best players of spin bowling. And, as if to confirm the good form he is in, he stepped down again to Kaneria in the 28th over and lofted him straight for his eighth boundary to race to 46.
Dravid also blossomed gradually; watching Ganguly unleash those lovely shots he must have surely been inspired.
Ganguly cruised to his half-century with another free-flowing shot through the off-side. It took him just 57 deliveries and included nine boundaries and a six.
A boundary to fine leg by Ganguly off Shoaib in the final over the day brought up the 100-run partnership for the third wicket.
At close on the fourth day, India were placed on a healthy 131 for 2 in 37 overs, for an overall lead of 220runs.
Ganguly finished on a strong 63 not out from 77 deliveries that included nine boundaries and a huge six. Dravid looked solid at the other end, scoring 35 in 89 deliveries with five boundaries.
For the fourth consecutive day, batsmen made merry on the pitch, as neither the spinners nor pacers got much assistance. The match aggregate now reads 1294 runs in 355.3 overs for just 22 wickets and it tells the whole story. However, India won't complain as they just need a draw to seal the series. They surely are on their way to do just that.