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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Tenduklar ton in vain; Pakistan win second ODI

Tenduklar ton in vain; Pakistan win second ODI

Last updated on: March 16, 2004 23:46 IST

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A brilliant 141 by Sachin Tendulkar was in vain as Pakistan beat India by 12 runs in the second One-Day International in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

Replying to Pakistan's record total of 329 for 6, India were all out for 317 in 48.3 overs.

The victory enabled Pakistan level the five-match series 1-1.

Sohaib Akhtar (3-49) and Mohammad Sami (3-41) were the main wicket-takers for Pakistan.

Pakistan's total, the highest ever at Rawalpindi, was built around a quickfire 80 off just 58 balls, including 10 boundaries and four sixes, by Shahid Afridi.

Pakistan innings:

India received a boost in the morning when skipper Sourav Ganguly and Ashish Nehra were declared fit to play in the match.

Pakistan were back at full strength too with the inclusion of fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed. Shahid Afridi also returned to the squad at the expense of opener Imran Farhat.

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat at a venue where they have won 10 of 16 ODIs they played.

With Afridi at the crease one can be sure of runs coming at a quick rate. In his comeback match he did not disappoint. He started off sedately enough but then got into his rhythm and hit shots all around the wicket. After five overs, Pakistan were 35 for no loss.

That is when the Indian bowlers, Zaheer Khan in particular, started to err in line and length. Give Afridi space to swing his arms and the ball will, in all probability, end up on the other side of the boundary.

Afridi reached his 50 off just 33 balls. Zaheer Khan conceded 51 runs in his five overs while L Balaji conceded 47 runs in his six.

Yasir Hameed, at the other end, mixed caution with aggression and played the perfect partner to Afridi, who showed the maturity he seemed to lack in his early years.

A bowling change finally worked for Ganguly. Yuvraj Singh, who was not given a bowl in the first ODI, got the breakthrough for India with the first ball of his spell when he clean bowled Afridi. The right-hander tried to sweep, but was beaten in the flight.

The left-arm orthodox spin seemed to trouble the batsmen. The change in angle and style worked for the Indians. Yuvraj also ended a 53-run partnership for the second wicket between Yousuf Youhana and Hameed by bowling the former. Youhana scored 24 off 26 balls.

Hameed and Inzamam-ul Haq continued the good work. Both batsmen worked singles with sublime ease as Pakistan cruised to a huge total. But that's when disaster struck for the home team.

Yuvraj was the bowler again. Nehra was the fielder and Inzamam-ul Haq was at the heart of the mix-up for the umpteenth time in his career. Hameed was the unlucky batsman to be dismissed 14 short of a well-deserved century.

Many thought Farhat would have been a better bet in the match, but Hameed proved his detractors wrong with a perfect one-day innings.

Nehra then struck two vital blows for the Indians, claiming wickets off consecutive balls to reduce Pakistan to 249 for the loss of five wickets.

A yorker-length delivery crashed into Inzamam's off-stump. The next ball trapped Moin Khan bang in front of his stumps.

The Pakistan innings was rocked, but it was just a minor blip in the proceedings. Younis Khan, 28 off 28 balls, and Shoaib Malik, 30 not out, steadied things.

The arrival of Abdul Razzaq at the wicket pushed the run-rate up once again. The all-rounder smashed 31 off just 18 balls as Pakistan reached a daunting 329 for the loss of six wickets.

For India, Nehra claimed 3 for 44 while Yuvraj Singh had figures of 2 for 41.

The average first innings score at Rawalpindi is 237 and local experts say chasing is normally quite easy.

329, though, seems in a different league altogether. But if Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar get going, nothing is impossible.

India innings

It was clear to all watching that India needed one of their big guns to fire. The only question was who would take up the challenge? Sachin Tendulkar answered his critics with a brilliant century as he guided India to the doorstep of victory.

Shoaib Akhtar, playing his 100th One-Day International, was given a rousing, welcome by his home crowd as he ran in to bowl the first ball of the Indian innings. The wides and no-balls he sent down in the first ODI were now part of history. Today he was a picture of concentration, determined to do well at all costs.

Virender Sehwag started the pursuit in a manner he has made his own. Perfect hand-eye co-ordination gives him an advantage over more orthodox batsmen, especially when he looks to play attacking shots.

A slash over the slips set India and Sehwag on the way and runs flowed freely from both ends. Tendulkar looked much more composed at the start of the innings and was content to score his runs without taking any undue risks.

Sehwag went after Shabbir, who was given the new ball ahead of Sami, lifting one straight over his head. Then moving away from the stumps, he gave himself space to hit one through the covers.

Tendulkar had settled down by then and proceeded to join the fun.

India reached fifty in the eighth over, well ahead of the asking rate at that stage. But then Akhtar struck with an express delivery. He clean bowled Sehwag with a delivery that was clocked at 91.2 mph. The right-hander scored 26 off 21 balls.

Tendulkar continued to keep the runs coming with clever running between the wickets and the odd boundary, but India were rocked again by V V S Laxman's (4) dismissal.

Ganguly, who was in next, was granted a reprieve when India's score was 74 for 2. Akhtar put down a sitter at mid-off after the Indian skipper had given Shabbir the charge.  After 15 overs, India were 87 for 2.

Tendulkar reached his half-century off 61 deliveries, before going past 13,000 ODI runs, well ahead of the chasing pack of batsmen, led by Pakistan skipper Inzamam.

At the other end, Sourav Ganguly struggled, looking out of place. Maybe, he was feeling the side effects of being down with fever. He had scored only 15 when he perished trying to hit his way out of trouble. He gave Afridi the charge and was stumped by yards as India slipped to 140 for 3.

Tendulkar, at the other end, looked determined. No bowler was spared as the batting maestro set about trying to carry India to victory. Malik, Afridi and Akhtar were all taken to the cleaners in turn.

In the process, Tendulkar became the first Indian to score a century in One-Day Internationals in Pakistan when he guided a ball to third man. The pro-Pakistan crowd rose in unison and accorded him a standing ovation for a wonderful knock.

India's 200 came up in 33.1 overs. Rahul Dravid, in the form of his life, was combining well with Tendulkar as runs continued to come at a steady pace. The duo put on a crucial 145 runs for the fourth wicket before Tendulkar was dismissed.

The little master had started opening his shoulders and playing the big shots. He had already slammed Malik for a boundary in the over, but perished trying to repeat the stroke. Razzaq, at deep square leg, took a fine running catch to bring the Rawalpindi crowd back into the game.

His 141 off just 135 balls was the center-piece of the Indian innings, in which only two other batsmen made more than 20 runs. 

India now looked to Dravid, Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif to steer the team to victory. But it was not to be. Three overs after Tendulkar's dismissal, Dravid tried to make room to drive Sami through the covers but the ball took an inside edge and crashed into the stumps.

India still needed 90 runs for victory with nine overs to go. A hard task for even the best of batsmen. But then Yuvraj (19) and Kaif (7) were dismissed in quick succession. One immediately thought it is curtains for India.

But Powar and Balaji staged a late rally to bring Indian supporters alive once again. A total of 30 runs came in the 47th and 48th overs as both batsmen swung their bats with flourish.

India were back in the game. 16 runs were needed from the last 12 balls. A cool, sensible head at the wicket might well have ensured victory for India. But there was a debutante at one end and a number 10 batsman at the other. Balaji (14 off 10 balls) was run-out, trying to give the strike to Powar off the first ball of the penultimate over.

Powar, who scored 18 off 11 balls, hit a four before Sami wrapped it up in the same over with a good length delivery on middle and leg that crashed into Nehra's castle.

Pakistan won the match by 12 runs and leveled the five-match series at 1-1.

Ashish Magotra