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Pakistan trail India by 540 runs

Anil Kumble removes Yasir Hameed as Pakistan end at 86/1 on Day two chasing India's 626.

cricket Updated: Dec 10, 2007 00:19 IST
HT Correspondent

Salman Butt led Pakistan's reply as he brought up his 3rd fifty against India to help Pakistan end the day at 86 for the loss of just one wicket at close on Day 2. Butt's opening partner, Yasir Hameed was the lone wicket to fall for Pakistan in their reply.

Captain Younis Khan looked extremely cautious initially as he fended off almost everything that the bowlers pitched on line. Salman Butt, at the other end was playing a very aggressive knock, completely in constrast to the one he played in Kolkata. Butt reached his third Test fifty against India as he swept one from Anil Kumble.

However, like the previous instances, Hameed became Kumble's bunny of the series as the Indian captain trapped him yet again leg-before wicket for 19. He got one on target, full, straight and quick. The ball kept low, and thudded into the pad, which Hameed planted in front of the stumps. The umpire seemed convinced and raised his finger in approval. Pakistan were 57/1 at that stage.

Salman Butt in particular latched on to anything loose from Sharma, who looked nothing short of nervous playing his second Test for India. However, as Sharma settled in, he bowled some snorters to Yasir Hameed, who for a while did not know where his off-stump was. Some of his deliveries seamed back sharply and beat the two openers fair and square. As the batsmen settled into their innings, they played some brilliant shots of the Indian bowlers.

The openers looked solid when they began their innings and were helped by some wayward bowling by paceman Ishant Sharma. Irfan Pathan started proceedings for India in their second innings, and looked on the dot right from the word go. He maintained a tight leash around off-stump and did not give much away in his opening spell.

Earlier in the session, India were finally dismissed for 626 after Irfan Pathan reached the maiden Test hundred of his career. He got to his century in style by launching Danish Kaneria into the stands. He was finally dismissed for 102, caught behind off Kaneria.

Earlier in the session, Kumble and Harbhajan were removed in quick succession as Pakistan cleaned the tail up quickly. Kumble was wrapped on the pad by a Kaneria wrong'un, while Yasir Arafat grabbed a debut fiver when he cleaned up Harbhajan Singh for 4.

Earlier at tea, India stamped their authority on the Final test at Bengaluru by plundering 150 runs in the post-lunch session in Bangalore. Sourav Ganguly(239) took off from his unbeaten 169 to reach his maiden double-hundred, and Irfan Pathan approached his maiden-Test hundred as India piled 611/7 as the umpires called tea on Day 2.

Ganguly in particular looked in no mood to give away his wicket after investing a lot of time and patience on the wicket. He controlled the innings brilliantly, stroking some fluent intermittent boundaries.

Pathan, was the aggressor in the partnership of 178 runs at a breezy pace of 4.85, with sixes and boundaries flying all around from his bat. Ganguly was also very fluent the session, but as he reached 197, he looked predictably shaky and nervous and as he picked two off Yasir Arafat, he celebrated in style as he bagged his first double hundred. He continued past his double-century and looked extremely hungry before Danish Kaneria picked up a consolatory wicket by bowling Ganguly round his legs. Dada departed the scene for a fluent, flawless and a free-flowing 239. Ganguly's reaction summed up his desire to score more runs for his team, but it was just not to be.

Pathan played some brilliant strokes too, especially when he dominated Danish Kaneria. It looked as though Pathan was not picking Kaneria at the start, but once he got into his innings, he just launched into him. He reached his fifty off 83 balls and since then he too has been flowing freely. He sent down two massive sixes off Salman Butt and Danish Kaneria each and as tea approached, Pathan was just seven shy of his hundred.

Pakistan, on the other hand were looking tired, somewhat clueless with proceedings. There were plenty of simple misfields, overthrows and more ball-chasing. Their body language looked very poor and even the chirps went off from behind the wicket. The openers were often seem looking towards the scoreboard to realize how daunting a task they have in hand. But, India might just look to bat off the opposition and go for a big win.

Earlier, Ganguly ended the first session on an unbeaten 169 as India piled on further misery on the Pakistani bowlers on Day 2 of the final Test against Pakistan at Bengaluru. Dinesh Karthik was India's only casualty in the morning session as he was caught behind for 24. India managed to score 96 runs in 27 overs bowled in the session, ending at 461/6.

Ganguly began the day from where he left off the previous evening, stroking some evergreen boundaries off the Pakistani bowlers. Karthik provided him with good support, as the duo added 66 runs at a brisk 3.30 per over. He looked cautious at the start when the new ball was jagging around but as the session progressed, he played some superb strokes, which included a massive six off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria. Ganguly reached the second 150 of his career with a single off Mohammad Sami. This was a very special innings from the Prince of Kolkata as he summed up the situation he came into bat at. He looked very agile right through the innings

In the second over of the day, Karthik survived a close decision when he did not offer a shot to one that just dipped back from Sami. But as the session progressed he failed to capitalize on that opportunity as he knicked one bowled just short of good length and around off-stump before Akmal caught him easily off Yasir Arafat for 24.

Irfan Pathan joined Ganguly in the middle and looked extremely positive right from the word go. He produced some delightful strokes as he raced to 18 before the umpires called for lunch.

Pakistan looked extremely short on confidence as they took the field on Day 2. Their strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar was on the field, after the MRI scan late last evening came out clear. But, he would be ineligable to bowl till 1:40 PM, as it is an internal injury and he has to compensate the time spent off the field. Danish Kaneria looked tired and there was a total lack of intensity visible among the ranks. There was an occasional appeal or so, but more out of hope than conviction. One has to presume that with India headed on for a massive score, Pakistan will have to bat out of their skins to save the Test match.

India would like their tail to wag a wee-bit and march towards the 550 mark to bat Pakistan out of contention.