Pak media blames umpiring
Directing its ire against "poor" umpiring and "biased" TV commentators, Pakistani media on Thursday grudgingly acknowledged the prowess of Indian batsmen in seizing the initiative in the series-deciding third cricket Test.
"Lucky Dravid puts India in driver's seat" was the headline in 'The Nation' while another daily 'The News' said 'Poor umpiring dents Pakistan chances'.
'The News' targeted umpire David Shepherd as well as third umpire Zameer Haider for "poor decisions", which it said, dealt a severe blow to Pakistan chances of putting up a good show. It also said biased commentary was resposible for compounding Pakistan's misery.
Noted cricket writer Omar Kurieshi said in 'Dawn': "Dravid has batted all day. Not for nothing is he known as 'The Wall'. But he was lucky. He looked to be out leg-before to Mohammad Sami. David Shepherd gave him the benefit of the doubt when there appeared to be no doubt.
"Shepherd is a cheerful character, a sort of a clean-shaven Santa Claus in civvies. Neither batsman nor bowler seems to mind very much when he appears to make a mistake."
The writer felt the turning point of the game was certainly Yaseer Hamid's dropping Dravid when the Indian batsman was in his 70s.
"There is an American Indian saying: 'Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.' Dravid was not going to bring shame on himself. He gave no other chance, not even a semblance of it," Kurieshi wrote.
"Dravid had to come good in the series. He chose the Rawalpindi Test match to show us how good a player he is. Even when the final batting session began to resemble net-practice, he was not going to give it away," he said while also praising Laxman for his brilliant knock.
"The innings of the day was played by Laxman. He had come in to bat at the fall of Tendulkar's wicket. Pakistan had been lifted by that dismissal. Laxman is a hesitant starter but a quick flurry of wristy strokes changed the tempo of the innings. Suddenly, it seemed to be the happy hour. Laxman made 71 brilliant runs.
It was this partnership with Dravid that put India in the driving seat," he said.
'The News' said, "Shepherd denied Pakistan's chances of making inroads into Indian batting by denying appeal against Dravid during Sami's bowling," the newspaper said.
"Surprisingly Shepherd gave the batsman not out at a time when the ball was pitched on the middle stump," it said adding a couple of more appeals were turned down by the umpires.
"Such crucial miss on part of an experienced umpire could well prove costly when it comes to deciding the fate of the series. Worst followed when Haider made horrible decision when Danish Kaneria had Dravid caught behind."
The report in 'The News' also argued that TV replays showed that the ball never touched the ground, while Haider, a local umpire, gave the benefit of doubt to Dravid.
"One rarely sees such a poor decision on part of the third umpire who has all the facilities to see and judge the happening," it said.
Another story in the same newspaper titled 'India on way to win Test series' said "the way our national squad is performing, it looks they are playing for defeat".