Committed to PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO KNOW
Vol. 5 Num 289 Sun. March 20, 2005  
   
Sports


TVS Cup
India v Pakistan 2005

Classy Dravid sets up Eden for grand finale


Pakistan made a bold attempt to chase a stiff 422-run target for vic-tory in the second Test against an India inspired by Rahul Dravid at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

Shahid Afridi smashed a run-a-ball 59 and Taufeeq Umar an unbeaten 29 as Pakistan reached 95-1 at stumps on the penultimate day. Younis Khan had yet to score.

Dravid, 32, earlier completed a century in each innings of a Test as India posted 407-9 declared on top of a first-innings lead of 14.

The stage is set for an exciting final day on Sunday. Pakistan now need 327 more runs in 90 overs on a slow turning track where the odd ball kept a little low.

Only three teams -- the West Indies (2003), India (1976) and Australia (1948) -- have so far scored more than 400 in the fourth innings to win a Test in the history of the game.

Afridi hit two sixes and nine fours to give his team a brisk start, putting on 93 for the opening wicket with Umar.

India heaved a sigh of relief when Afridi was caught by Sourav Ganguly at fine leg while trying to sweep leg-spinner Anil Kumble in the penultimate over of the day.

The hosts were indebted to Dravid for setting a challenging target as the stylish batsman followed his first-innings 110 with a chanceless 135.

This was only the sixth instance in Indian cricket that a batsman had scored a hundred in each innings of a match. Sunil Gavaskar did it three times, Dravid twice and Vijay Hazare once.

Dravid's 20th Test hundred in 88 matches came just when his team needed a long innings.

India were in trouble in the morning but Dravid came to the rescue with a 165-run stand for the fifth wicket with young Dinesh Karthik, who cracked a career-best 93.

The hosts lost captain Ganguly after adding just 21 to their overnight total of 133-3 and then saw VVS Laxman retire hurt after scoring only two.

India were only 170 ahead when Laxman left the field with a swelling over the left eye, suffered while trying to fend off a rising delivery from fast bowler Mohammad Sami. He later returned to make 24.

Dravid, called 'The Wall' for his rock-like defence and consistency, lived up to his reputation with yet another elegant knock which shattered Pakistan's hopes of restricting India's lead.

There was never a moment of uncertainty in Dravid's stroke-play as he cut and drove on his way to a century. He hit 15 fours in his 283-ball knock.

When Dravid was caught in the deep by Asim Kamal off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, India were safe with a lead of 335.

Karthik, 19, batted sensibly under pressure to provide valuable support to his senior partner.

Playing only his seventh Test, the wicketkeeper looked set to score a deserving maiden century when he was bowled by Kaneria going for big shots before the declaration. He struck 13 fours in his 140-ball knock.

The Test was wide open in the morning session before Pakistan encountered Dravid and Karthik.

Sami did the damage in his lively opening spell when he held a return catch to account for Ganguly, who mistimed a pull after adding just eight to his overnight four to leave his home crowd disappointed.

Sami, Kaneria and seamer Abdul Razzaq finished with three wickets apiece.

Picture
GET, SET AND GO: Master India batsman Rahul Dravid is about to cut one late on way to scoring a superb 135 on the fourth day of the second Test yesterday. PHOTO: AFP