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India win despite Butt's century
November 11, 2007 13:34 IST
Last Updated: November 11, 2007 17:59 IST
India clinched a 46-run win in the third one-day international against Pakistan in Kanpur on Sunday, despite a career-best 129 from Salman Butt [Images], to take a 2-1 lead in the five-game series.
Left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh [Images] underlined his form with a neatly paced 77 to help lift India to 294 for six before Pakistan were bowled out for 248 in 47.2 overs on a slow turning track.
The 23-year-old Butt made a valiant bid after reaching his fourth one-day hundred, all against India, after Pakistan lost the explosive Shahid Afridi [Images] (12), who returned as opener, and Younis Khan (21), who hit a match-winning 117 in the last game.
The left-handed batsman was ninth out, ending a 142-ball effort studded with 17 fours. Pakistan had chosen to bowl.
Yuvraj raised 100 runs from 92 balls with skipper Mahendra Dhoni [Images] (49) and both attacked the inconsistent Pakistani bowling after Sourav Ganguly [Images] (39), dropped first ball, and Sachin Tendulkar [Images] (29) added a breezy 68 runs for the first wicket.
Chasing the stiff target, Pakistan sent in the explosive Shahid Afridi (12) to open with Butt, perhaps hoping the buccaneering right-hander to repeat the magic of 2005, when he had slammed a demonic 45-ball century at the same venue.
However, history did not repeat itself as Irfan Pathan [Images], with the new ball after a long time, cleaned up Afridi's off-stump in the fourth over.
The hosts got rid of another India nemesis when Younis Khan (21) offered no shot to an RP Singh delivery only to lose his off-stump.
Though the visitors were reduced to 72 for two, Butt, at the other end cruised along, racing to his fifty in 48 balls. Butt propelled Pakistan to 100 in 99 balls but Yuvraj managed to cut short Mohammad Yousuf's [Images] (16) stay with a direct hit as Pakistan lost their third wicket at 104.
Yuvraj shone with the ball as well as he struck with his third ball in the 28th over to trap Shoaib Malik [Images] (12).
Kartik dismissed Misbah-ul-Haq (34) in the 42nd over to trigger a batting collapse as Kamran Akmal (2) fell to RP, while Sohail Tanvir (0) returned after an almighty mix-up with Butt. From 214 for four, Pakistan slumped to 231 for seven in 44 overs.
Harbhajan, who has been outstanding and just did not have luck, finally dealt the deadliest blow when he trapped Butt with his penultimate delivery and that dashed whatever hopes Pakistan had of winning the match.
Put into bat, Sourav Ganguly (39) and Sachin Tendulkar (29), particularly the left-hander, survived some torrid moments before giving India a good start via a 68-run opening stand. And when they departed, Yuvraj and Dhoni took up the cudgel and featured in a century stand to swell the tally, which turned out to be the highest score at the venue.
Yuvraj was tentative to start with and took time to adjust before exploding with four boundaries and three sixes in his 95-ball stay. Dhoni was punishing right from the start and hit two fours and two sixes in just 52 deliveries.
Shoaib Malik won a crucial toss and inserted India, hoping his pace battery to exploit whatever assistance Green Park's not-so-green strip had to offer. But his luck seemed to have ended with the toss as the first ball of the innings kissed Ganguly's (39) tentative blade and flew to Kamran Akmal who made a mess of it and grassed the sitter.
The Rawalpindi Express' frustration found manifestations in two wide balls that followed.
With Akhtar and Umar Gul posing difficult questions, Ganguly groped to find the meat of the blade. Gul twice pushed the ball through the gates and also induced an edge that raced to boundary through a vacant second slip. Ganguly somehow hung around to overcome the shaky start. He repeatedly came down the track to upset Gul's rhythm and hit him over long off for a six.
At the other end, Tendulkar looked more convincing but he too survived a hostile Akhtar spell, during which he edged the pacer just over first slip where Misbah-ul-Haq was late to react. Tendulkar hit Gul for successive boundaries on two occasions, bringing in the team's fifty in the eighth over.
With the left-right combination finding boundaries at regular intervals, India cruised to 68 in the 11th over before Sohail Tanvir's (2 for 26) double strike halted India as the hosts lost both the openers in a space of 14 runs.
Just when he looked set, Tendulkar edged Tanvir and Akmal redeemed some of his lost reputation by pouching a smart catch diving to his right and in the 15th over, Ganguly lost his off-stump to the left arm seamer with an awkward, wrong-footed action.
Tendulkar left after a 27-ball 29, while Ganguly joined him soon in the pavilion after making 39 off 46 balls, with the help of four boundaries apart from the six.
This was a record 44th half-century opening partnership between the duo, who eclipsed Matthew Hayden [Images] and Adam Gilchrist's [Images] record of 43 stands of fifty-plus runs for the opening pair.
Yuvraj announced his arrival with a crisp flick off Tanvir that raced to boundary but run rate took a nosedive as India crossed the 100-mark in the 20th over.
Gautam Gambhir [Images] (25) looked charged up after a verbal duel with Shahid Afridi but he too could not convert the start. More than the turn, he was undone by the vagary of the pitch as an Abdur Rehman delivery reared up and Gambhir could only help it pitch and hit the top of the stumps. India lost their third wicket at 129 in 28 overs and Rehman returned having earned a breakthrough in his first over.
Dhoni looked uncomfortable against Rehman, while Yuvraj got a life when Salman Butt dropped him at mid-wicket off Shoaib Malik. They decided offence was the best defence and took the charge to the opponents.
Yuvraj broke loose with two sixes in Rehman's fourth over clearing mid-wicket and long on ropes and it proved contagious as Dhoni responded in equal measures, sending his counterpart Malik soaring over the sightscreen and then landing one on the roof on the other side of the long on rope.
Dhoni maintained the momentum hitting Afridi for two successive boundaries and brought up run-a-ball fifty stand. Dhoni, however, could not make any use of the free hit offered by Shoaib Akhtar [Images] and holed it out to Afridi at long off. India's 200 came in the 38.3 over.
Yuvraj swept Afridi for his seventh half-century against Pakistan and celebrated it with a six over long off but Dhoni was not destined to reach the mark as he fell dragging a Akhtar delivery onto the stumps. The duo had added 100 runs in 15 overs for the side. India reached 250 in the 46th over.
Birthday boy Robin Uthappa (19), who turned 22 today, smote Rehman over his head for a six but the spinner pulled one back when Yuvraj holed out to Misbah-ul-Haq at deep mid-wicket. The left-hander's scored 77 in 95 balls, that saw him hitting four boundaries and three sixes.
After Gul castled Uthappa in the 48th over, Irfan Pathan (17 not out) hoicked Rehman over long on and then cleared long off boundaries in the penultimate over. Harbhajan Singh [Images] was not out on 10.
Tanvir was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers, claiming two for 26 in his tidy 10 overs.