India face uphill task as Pakistan go on rampage
by AFP

Ground:Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Scorecard:Pakistan v India
Player:Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf
Event:India in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 14th January 2006


India were set for a gruelling struggle to save the first cricket Test here after Pakistan put on a scintillating display with the bat on Saturday.


Younis Khan missed a double-century by one run and Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal posted hundreds as Pakistan piled up a mammoth 679-7 declared on the second day.


India, needing 480 runs to save the follow-on, were 65 for no loss in reply when stumps were drawn for the day 19 overs early due to fading light at the Gaddafi stadium.


Virender Sehwag showed none of the pressure that faces the Indians, smashing seven boundaries in an unbeaten 36 off 35 balls.


Captain Rahul Dravid, who preferred to open the innings in place of Sourav Ganguly, was 22 not out at the close.


The tourists return on Sunday hoping to bat out a major part of the remaining three days to avoid defeat at the start of the three-Test series.


Indian coach Greg Chappell admitted his team will not find it easy.


"I do not know of a team that loses a Test after scoring 679 runs," the former Australian captain said.


"We obviously have to try and make it safe for ourselves. To do that, we must bat session by session."


Younis was run out for 199 and Yousuf hit 173 as Pakistan came close to their highest total against India of 699-5 at the same venue in 1989.


The pair put on 319 runs for the third wicket in just 270 minutes to set the stage for a spectacular run feast by the hosts.


Afridi then hit a blistering 103 off 80 balls and Akmal remained unbeaten on 102 before Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq closed the first innings shortly before tea.


Afridi plundered seven sixes -- four of them in successive balls off Harbhajan Singh -- and seven boundaries during his fourth Test century.


"It was fun out there," said Afridi. "At one stage, Anil Kumble asked me where he should bowl to me so that I am not able to hit the ball."


Akmal enhanced his growing stature as a batsman-wicketkeeper of promise by compiling his third century before Inzamam declared.


Younis, who ended the first day on 147 in Pakistan's score of 326-2, was run out trying to get to 200 with a risky single.


Younis charged down the wicket after patting the ball to mid-on and could not beat Harbhajan's throw as non-striker Afridi sent him back.


Younis, who scored a match-winning 267 in Bangalore on Pakistan's tour of India last year, hit 26 boundaries during his marathon innings lasting five hours and 30 minutes.


Yousuf smashed 21 boundaries and two sixes before he was stumped attempting another big hit against spinner Anil Kumble.


Kumble struck again in his next over by trapping Inzamam leg-before for one.


Pakistan slipped from 455-2 to 477-5 to give the Indian bowlers temporary respite before Afridi and Akmal resumed after lunch to pound the attack into submission.


Some 12,000 home fans were treated to glorious strokeplay through the day which saw Pakistan score 159 runs off 36 overs in the extended morning session and move from 500 to 600 in only 10.3 overs.


None of the Indian bowlers was spared the pounding. Kumble finished with 2-178 from 39.3 overs, Harbhajan went for 0-176, Irfan Pathan gave away 133 runs for one wicket and Ajit Agarkar took two for 122.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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