India crush England by 9 wickets
Sehwag and Dravid put on 105 runs for the unbroken 2nd wicket to take India home in second Test at Mohali.india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 21:36 IST
Wasim Jaffer's elegant stay in the middle was halted, but that could not stop India from winning the second Test by nine wickets against England.
Their tenacious opponents challenged them. They were also racing against time as the Weather God, for much of the last five days, was showing the darker side of His nature. And yet Rahul Dravid's men could finish off the match more than two hours before the scheduled close of play on Day Five, making an engrossing battle look like a walk in the park in the end.
Long after this match becomes just another page in record books, the child like joy that a 35-year-old Anil Kumble showed while bowling would linger.
This Test had many heroes, but one shone almost as bright as the Bangalore man. On his debut, Munaf Patel took seven wickets for the record. But rather, it was the romance of seeing an Indian bowling at 90 miles per hour, the pleasure of seeing an Indian bringing life to an old ball, which the record book would never speak of.
It was because of Munaf, who took three wickets in the morning, that India could bowl England out for 181 in their second innings, paving the for Virender Sehwag (76 not out in 89 balls, 9 fours, 1 six) and Dravid (42 not out in 77 balls, 3 fours) to achieve the target of 144 in emphatic style.
The New Viru:
Sehwag batted in a manner that was never seen before. But what could be seen after a long time was a big innings from him.
That's what the doctor ordered after Jaffer fell to Matthew Hoggard.
It was unusual to see Sehwag waiting for the bad balls on his way to his 11th half century in Test cricket. With him was skipper Dravid who was not giving anything away for the Englishmen to hit back.
The unbroken 105-run partnership between the two ensured that India would not leave Mohali without a win.
Jaffer, who made such a fine start to his innings before lunch, seemed set for a big score until he found out that Hoggard was never the one to relent.
The right-arm-pacer kept on pitching the ball up, looking for that swing. Eventually Jaffer (17 in 32 balls, 3 fours) couldn't find the answer to the one that came back sharply and hit his pad.
It was the breakthrough England were looking for while defending their small target.
Dravid joined Sehwag who was showing remarkable patience with the bat.
It wasn't Jumbo in the morning who made the Indian hopes soar.
Patel (4/26), as if to prove in his very first Test that he bowls even better when the ball gets older, came up with an inspired spell.
He started the proceedings in the morning with Kumble (4/69) and immediately struck, not once or twice, but thrice to dent English plans of staging fight back.
And eventually England were all out for 181, setting India a target of 144.
Andrew Flintoff (51, 106 balls, 4 fours) defied the Indians as much as he could before finally gifting Piyush Chawla his first wicket.
There was his 42-run partnership with Steve Harmison for the ninth wicket before Kumble managed to draw Harmison (13 in 49 balls, 2 fours) out of the crease with one that drifted down the leg for Dhoni to do the rest.
In the day's first over, Geraint Jones (5) hit Munaf through covers, but two balls later found his bails dislodged to a ball that came in, hit his edge and rolled back.
Liam Plunkett (1), the No 8, is said to possess a decent batting record in first class cricket. But Munaf wasn't willing to let him show his prowess at the big stage.
The ball to which he fell was fuller, he tried to play it from the crease only to be beaten by the prodigious swing in the air and was plumb in front.
Plunkett must have heard of the Burewala Express who used to take so many wickets in English conditions with a similar kind of ball. He got the taste of it in Mohali through someone who might well be called the Bharuch Express in future.
Next to go was Hoggard (4), the ball hit his front back before knocking the off stump.
Not that Munaf only troubled the tail. Flintoff, who was batting with calm, was squared up by one that came in from a length and went past between his bat and pad on its way to Dhoni.
England captain survived, but his team eventually succumbed.
India: Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla.
England: Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, G Jones, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, L Plunkett, Monty Panesar.