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Day 2: Zim tottering at 39/4 in 2nd innings

Pathan and Zaheer demolished the top order, sharing two wickets each as the hosts were trailing by 166 runs at close.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2005 14:10 IST

Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan on Wednesday took India to the brink of victory on the second day of the second and final Test against Zimbabwe.

This was after Rahul Dravid (98) and Gautam Gambhir (97) had put the team in a solid position.

After taking a 205-run first-innings -- thanks to India's first-innings 366 -- Pathan and Zaheer took two wickets apiece to reduce Zimbabwe to 39 for four wickets in their second innings.

At close, Hamilton Masakadza was batting on 11 and Heath Streak was on six.

Zimbabwe are still 166 runs behind and the match looks set to be over on the third day at the Harare Sports Club.

And when that happens it would be India's first Test series win outside the subcontinent.

The last time India had won a Test series overseas was in 1986 when Kapil Dev's side beat England 2-0.

Pathan opened the floodgates when he had Terry Duffin brilliantly caught by Dravid at slip for 10. Five runs later, with the score reading 18, Pathan found the pads of Brendan Taylor in front of the wicket. Zimbabwe were 18 for two.

Then Yuvraj Singh came up with a stunning catch at point that sent Dion Ebrahim back to the dressing room off Zaheer.

At 18 for three, some people felt the match could be over on Wednesday itself. And Tatenda Taibu's wicket, caught by Anil Kumble off Zaheer, gave meat to such a thought.

Earlier, India started the day at 195 for one, with Gautam Gambhir five short of his second Test century and Rahul Dravid one short of his 38th half-century.

But Gambhir did not last long enough to complete his century, falling to his nerves and an away swinging delivery from Blessing Mahwire and wicketkeeper Taibu did the rest.

The Delhi left-hander faced 121 balls and cracked 17 boundaries and, more importantly, more or less cemented his place for the home Test series against Sri Lanka in November.

VVS Laxman, who scored a fine 140 in India's first Test win at Bulawayo, lasted just 20 deliveries during which he made eight.

The Hyderabadi's dismissal brought captain Sourav Ganguly to the crease to join vice-captain Dravid. But when they had added just 26 for the fourth wicket, Ganguly (16), who scored a form-finding century at Bulawayo, edged a Weddington Mwayenga delivery to Taibu.

All this while Dravid was gradually progressing at the other end - and watching the wickets fall around him.

But Yuvraj Singh put a stop to the periodical fall of wickets as he dug in after his first Test failure. The left-hander and Dravid added 61 for the fifth wicket before Heath Streak bowled the Punjab batsman for 25 (70 balls, 3x4s).

Three balls later, Dravid too was back in the pavilion without any addition to the total of 306. It was the eighth time that he had got out in the 90s in his 91st Test. Dravid made a responsible 98 (237 balls, 14x4s).

Down the order, Pathan played another important knock (32, 45 balls, 7x4s) that further testified that he had all the attributes of an all-rounder in the making. Harbhajan Singh remained unbeaten on 14.

Former captain Streak was the best Zimbabwe bowler as he captured his career-best figures of six for 73. His final analysis of 32-10-73-6 made fine reading.

The hard working Streak, playing his 65th Test, took his career tally to 216 wickets with Wednesday's superb performance.

Scoreboard

Day 2, Second Test, India vs. Zimbabwe, Harare Sports Club, Sep 21

Zimbabwe (1st innings): 161

India (1st innings/overnight 195/1):
Gautam Gambhir c Taibu b Mahwire 97
Virender Sehwag c Taibu b Streak 44
Rahul Dravid b Mahwire 98
VVS. Laxman lbw b Streak 8
S Ganguly c Taibu b Mwayenga 16
Yuvraj Singh b Streak 25
D Karthik b Streak 1
I Pathan c Coventry b Streak 32
A Kumble c Ebrahim b Streak 8
Harbhajan Singh not out 14
Z Khan c Taibu b Blignaut 2
Extras: (b 2, lb 11, nb 8) 21
Total: (in 107.4 overs) 366

Fall of wicket: 1-75 (Sehwag, 12.1 overs), 2-198 (Gambhir, 45.3), 3-219 (Laxman, 52.2), 4-245 (Ganguly, 67.3), 5-306 (Yuvraj, 88.5), 6-306 (Dravid, 89.1), 7-318 (Karthik, 92.3), 8-342 (Kumble, 100.3), 9-361 (Pathan, 104.6)

Bowling :Heath Streak 32 10 73 6
Blessing Mahwire 26 5 86 2
Andy Blignaut 19.4 1 80 1 (2nb)
Weddington Mwayenga 21 6 79 1 (6nb)
Keith Dabengwa 9 1 35 0

Zimbabwe (2nd innings):
B Taylor lbw b Pathan 4
T Duffin c Dravid b Pathan 10
D Ebrahim c Yuvraj b Khan 3
H Masakadza batting 11
T Taibu c Kumble b Khan 1
H Streak batting 6
Extras: (b 1, lb 2, w 1) 4
Total: (for six wickets in 17 overs) 39

Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Duffin, 4.2 overs), 2-18 (Taylor, 6.4), 3-18 (Ebrahim, 7.5), 4-21 (Taibu, 9.5)

Bowling:Irfan Pathan 8 1 25 2
Zaheer Khan 8 3 9 2 (1w)
Harbhajan Singh 1 0 2 0

Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia) and Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Third/TV umpire: Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe)
Match referee: Mike Proctor (South Africa)