Pakistan face a daunting task for the next three days that of saving the Kolkata Test and also saving themselves from losing the Test Series. The experienced Indian batsmen ensured that their side batted the opposition out of the match with a total of 616. The Pakistanis have already lost a wicket after being put into bat in the last one hour of the second day’s play. While Wasim Jaffer’s mission this morning was to complete a double hundred, Ganguly and VVS Laxman notched up much needed centuries which they have been missing out in the recent past.
India went into the second day’s morning in a dominating position at 352 for 3. Wasim Jaffer got past his second double century but the tiredness of playing so many shots in such a short stay saw him lose his wicket through an aimless poke outside off. Sohail Tanvir like yesterday picked up a wicket off the first ball he had bowled in the day’s play. Jaffer (202 from 274 with 34 fours) walked back to the pavilion through a strong reception from the 60,000 crowd at the Eden Gardens. He did his job with India moving onto 375 for 4. Ganguly and Laxman then carried their side to lunch taking the score to 449 for 4. Laxman did take time to get his first runs but once he found his timing, the Kolkatans were in for a treat from the class act. Ganguly made the crowd happy by registering his second test match fifty at his home ground.
The post lunch session too belonged to the Indians with Ganguly and Laxman picking up boundaries regularly to push the scoreboard. After the drinks break in the second session, Ganguly brought up his maiden century at Eden Gardens and his 14th overall facing just 144 balls. After that he went for a big shot off part time offie Salman Butt only to get caught in the deep. For Salman Butt, it was his first test scalp! The score at this stage was 538 for 5 and by Tea it was 552 for 5 with Laxman getting into the 90s.
In the final session, Laxman and Dhoni were working towards getting the 600 on the board as quickly as possible. Laxman in the process registered his 11th ton. Dhoni was very slow to get going but then could accelerate towards the end to get a fifty before Kumble decided to end the innings at a strong 616 for 5 in 152.5 overs. Laxman once again remained not out, he scored 112 (from 178 balls with 15 fours). Dhoni got 50 in 82 balls with 6 fours and the only six of the Indian innings. The pitch has started to deteriorate as there were plenty of deliveries that misbehaved. The pair of Ganguly and Laxman had to face few short pitch deliveries that just took off with an explosion of the top surface. Towards the end of the innings, strokeplay was getting difficult too as Dhoni played an uncharacteristically slow innings.
On the field, the Indians were struck with a huge blow when Zaheer Khan had to rush back to the pavilion midway through his second over after twisting his ankle. The damage wasn’t that bad though as he was getting ready to get back on the field after a few minutes. The Indians used spin very early with Munaf Patel looking pathetic. In the 8th over, Anil Kumble gave the opening for his team as he got Yasir Hameed lbw. Yasir Hameed fell across to a straight delivery from Kumble as he was caught in the crease playing along the wrong line. He was looking good until then making 21 from 23 with 4 fours. Pakistan saw the day’s play through which ended at 4:15 PM at the score of 50 for 1. Salman Butt is on 26 (from 55 with 4 fours) and Younis Khan on 3 (from 18 balls).