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Pakistan make India toil on Day 3

While Misbah ul-Haq remained unbeaten at 54 and Akmal at 32, the visitors finish Day 3 at 369 for 5.

cricket Updated: Dec 10, 2007 21:11 IST
HT Correspondent

Pakistan finished Day 3 of the final Test at Bangalore on a positive note, as they scored 369 runs for the loss of five wickets. The defiant duo of Misbah ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal were at the crease, with the former unbeaten on 54, while the latter was not out on 32.

India toiled hard to produce the goods on a wicket that seemed like cracking up by the over. Some of the deliveries in the last over were unplayable from Yuvraj Singh, when the ball scooted along the surface. They lost four wickets in the day, starting with Salman Butt, who fell for a well-made 68.

Sourav Ganguly gave India the all important breakthrough just over an hour after play resumed. He picked up the set batsman Salman Butt, caught behind for 68. He pitched it on a length and outside the off-stump and it just moved a shade away. Butt fell for the lure of the poke and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik made no mistake behind the stumps.

Younis Khan, took charge of proceedings when he took the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners. His innings was filled with some audacious reverse-sweeps as well as some sumptuous drives. Khan ensured that the two spinners didn't settle into a good rhythm. In the process, he bagged his 20th Test fifty and his run-spree against India just continued. However, he could not hold himself back from playing that productive reverse sweep, and tried it once again and fails to make contact. Harbhajan pitched it on leg and the ball angled in, got past the bat and crashed into the stumps. Khan departed for a well-made 80. Pakistan were 221 for 3 when Khan left the scene.

Immediately after that, Pakistan lost their second wicket in quick succession as dangerman Mohammad Yousuf walked back for 24. Pathan bowled a wide one and Yousuf fell for the bait, slashing it straight to Yuvraj Singh at point. It was more of a lapse in concentration after he was involved in an altercation with Indian captain Anil Kumble a while earlier. Pakistan were 228 for 4 when Yousuf left the crease.

Faisal Iqbal then came to the wicket and joined Misbah ul-Haq. He survived a bunch of extremely close leg-before appeals against him from the spinners. He failed to read Harbhajan Singh initially and was beaten many a times. However, his innings came to an end with Ishant Sharma removing the middle-order batsman for 22. The ball reared off a good length and the batsman showed some discomfort adjusting to the extra bounce. The ball lobs up on the on-side and Gambhir made no mistake by completing a regulation catch.

Then, India's familiar foes of Misbah ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal came together, to battle out a tricky one and a half hours before the close of play. Both went unscathed, despite surviving a lot of close appeals from the bowlers. They displayed a lot of grit and determination to see out the day, very reminiscent of their partnership at the Eden Gardens. Misbah, also notched up his second fifty of the series, while Akmal was batting on 32 as the umpires called off the day.

Pakistan were still 57 runs adrift of the follow-on margin of 426 runs, and would look to wipe it off first thing in the morning on Day 4, while India would look to clean up the last five wickets so as to enable them to go for the win.