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India seal Pakistan series after easy win

Last updated on: November 15, 2007 23:04 IST

India's wait for a one-day series triumph over Pakistan on home soil ended on Thursday night after 24 years when they thrashed their arch-rivals by six wickets to take an invincible 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Chasing a competitive 256 for victory, the Indians overhauled the target comfortably with 21 balls to spare, in a floodlit encounter that saw Sachin Tendulkar (97) miss a century for the sixth time this year.

The jinx of the 42nd century continued to haunt the master batsman who laid the foundation for the run chase but again fell agonisingly short of the three-figure mark.

It was a commanding display by the hosts, who not only bowled well to restrict Pakistan to 255 for 6 but also chased down the target without much fuss at the fully-packed Captain Roop Singh stadium.

While Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (43) put the Indians on track with a 67-run third run partnership, the in-form Yuvraj Singh (53 not out) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (45 not out) steered the team home.

Dhoni hit Salman Butt for a six to score the winning runs that triggering scenes of wild celebration in the galleries as well as dressing room.

It was India's first ODI series win on home soil against the traditional rivals in 24 years, the last one coming under Kapil Dev's captaincy in 1983.

The fifth and final match at Jaipur on Sunday is now rendered inconsequential, but the hosts, who have retained the squad for the game, will be looking to win the series with a crushing 4-1 verdict.

Earlier, Mohammad Yousuf smashed an unbeaten 99 and Younis Khan a half-century to propel Pakistan to a healthy total.

Yousuf, who hit seven fours and two sixes, was also involved in a 90-run stand with Misbah-ul Haq (40) after captain Shoaib Malik elected to bat in the day-night match at the Roop Singh stadium.

Yousuf was dropped by Sourav Ganguly at extra cover when he tried to scoop an R P Singh delivery. The experienced batsman made the most of the opportunity and helped Pakistan blast 77 runs in the last 10 overs.

Pakistan, in a must-win situation to keep the five-match series alive, had a bad start, jolted by Indian pace spearhead R P Singh, who dismissed Salman Butt, century maker in the previous match, for a duck. He trapped the in-form opener leg before with the second ball of the innings.

But Younis Khan (68, 5x4, 1x6), and Shoaib Malik (31, 3x4) steadied the innings and stitched 78 runs to lay a solid foundation for a decent total.

After Butt's exit, a cautious Pakistan scored only five runs in next three overs, on a pitch that was said to be a perfect batting track.

Malik tried to step up the scoring and hit the first boundary in the fourth over.

Younis got two lives, thanks to captain wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He was first dropped by Dhoni when on 6 and got another life on 48. He inside edged Pathan's good length delivery around the off stump, which flew low to the left of Dhoni, who dived but could not hold on. Pakistan were 13-1 at that stage.

Younis struck his second boundary after 18 balls, square driving R P Singh through cover point.

Dhoni also missed a stumping chance in the 23rd over off Harbhajan Singh.

Younis stroked the delivery spinning down the leg side but Dhoni failed to gather cleanly.

The batsman went on to hit a towering six in the 27th over off Harbhajan before eventually giving a return catch to Yuvraj Singh in the 30th over.

Malik departed in the 20th over, bowled by Zaheer Khan.

By scalping Malik, the Baroda pacer became India's fifth bowler to pick 200 ODI wickets.

Shahid Afridi (1), the next batsman in, became Ganguly's 100th ODI victim.

The former captain became only third cricketer after compatriot Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka to have achieve the double of claiming 100 wickets as well as scoring 10,000 runs.

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