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Day 2: India tough in their response

At stumps on day two, Dravid-Laxman combo kept the fiery Pak bowling at bay.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 17:33 IST

It isa real nightmare when someone as powerful and belligerent as Shahid Afridi is unleashed on this kind of wicket.However,as fate would have it onday twoof the second Test at Faisalabad, that is exactly what happened.

Pakistan sprung up an early surprise, when Abdul Razzaq walked in with Shahid Afridi instead of Inzamam-ul-Haq. Inzi, down with a sore back, retired himself and one would have expected this to be the much-needed opening for India.

However, as they say 'India proposes, Afridi disposes'.

At stumps, Pakistan's aggression had dragged the rug from beneath the Indians' feet.And had it not been for the Dravid-Laxman partnershipthat lingered on tillthe endat a solid 110/1, Inzamam may well have been jumping with joy, despite his injury.

Afridi pulverises bowling attack

The strong Pathan pulverised the Indian bowling attack - whether spin or pace - to reach his highest-ever Test score. Dravid scratched his head in agony trying to find a cure for this nagging pain in the neck, but nothing seemed to work.

Afridi, the compulsive power-player that he is, went after everything that came his way, irrespective of line and length or field placements. Resuming from 85 overnight, Afridi racedto his hundred in his typical style, with a huge six over deep mid-wicket off Irfan Pathan in the 2nd over of the day.

He too had his share of mis-hits and edges, but his immense power ensured that ball carried over the fence.

As if that wasn't too severe a torture, he murdered Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble thereafter. In fact, one woeful over from Khan read: 4 6 2 4 4 0.

Kumble did manage to get Afridi finally. His mis-hit, for a change, stayed inside the ground as Yuvraj lapped up a simple catch. But not before his exploits (154 runs, 128 balls, 20 fours, 1 six) got Pakistan past the 450-run mark.

Inzi, Shoaibgo 'slam-bang'

After Afridi's charge, 'Big man' Inzamam took over. Continuing with a runner and a bad back, he reached his 25th Test century. Hiccups came at the other end in the form of Akmal's and Razzaq's wickets but nothing deterred him.

He, along with Shoaib Akhtar, cruised along at rocket-speed, toying with the bowlers. Akthar, in particular, was in a slam-bang mode teeing off mammoth sixes at will.

But post lunch-session belonged to India. With the pitch starting to crumble up, the bowlers finally got their due. First Inzamam (119) got out to an exceptional delivery from Zaheer, and then Shoaib (47), in a bid to get to his first Test fifty, was hauled out in the deep.

With both the well-set batsmen back to the pavilion, Indian bowlers seized the initiative and polished off the tail.

India reply tough

India was off to a shaky start, with opening bowlers - Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif - bowling full, fast and accurate.

With the pitch starting to crack up, the duo consistently induced edges and mis-hits from Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.

The two tired openers, out in the field for a day and half, however fought it out and survived till tea.

But the very first over after tea proved disastrous for India. Sehwag slashed at a short and straight delivery, but could only manage an edge. Razzaq was ecstatic as Imran Farhat pouched the catch.

Dravid, at the other end, realising his deputy's departure, upped the ante. His shots - devoid of any risk - soon snatched the momentum away from the home team.

Laxman joining his skipper, too slogged it out getting India past 100. At stumps,Dravid-Laxman combinehad added ten more, successfully negotiating what had been a tough day in the office for tourists.

Match report Day 1: Pak seize initiative

 

First Published: Jan 22, 2006 10:44 IST