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Kolkata Test heading towards a draw barring miracles

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India are trying their best to win the second test at Kolkata and also seal the 3-Test Series 2-0. But they have been defied by the brilliance of Misbah-ul-Haq and the stubborn defence from Mohammad Sami that saw Pakistan bat out more than a session on the important fourth day’s play. India had to bat again after not being able to enforce the follow on as Pakistan got to an impressive 456. Indian batsmen came out firing in a hope of setting up a safe target before the inevitable declaration comes through. By stumps on the fourth day, India got a lead of 301 and looking to extend that in one hour of play during the final day.

The visitors had started the fourth day at 358 for 6. They could have been seven down very soon but there was a relatively simple chance that was put down by Rahul Dravid at slip. Anil Kumble was the bowler who found a rare edge off Sami’s blade. Thereafter, it was all Pakistan for the rest of the session. India were hoping to run through the Pakistani tail in the morning session but they first had to break the partnership between Misbah and Sami which they failed to do so for the third time in this series. Pakistan were nicely placed at 418 for 6 at lunch with Misbah on 141 and Sami on 24.

The afternoon session was no different to the morning one. The Indian bowlers found no joy at all and Anil Kumble looked upto VVS Laxman to give a break to his main bowlers. And when there was a shout of “Come on Murali” from the bat pad fielder Dinesh Karthik, VVS Laxman came up with an off break that was lofted but lofted straight into the hands of Jaffer at mid off which ended Sami’s innings! Sami batted out 138 balls which was much more significant than the 38 runs he had scored. For VVS Laxman, it was his second test scalp. India wasted no time after that desperate breakthrough to take the remaining three wickets in around 5 overs. Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar and Danish Kaneria were all dismissed for ducks.

Misbah-ul-Haq deservingly stayed unbeaten on 161 (from 351 balls with 13 fours and a six) after batting for nearly 10 hours! Pakistan were bowled out for 456 but the best part for them was that they had played out 151.1 overs. Harbhajan worked hard for his 5 for 122 in 45.5 overs of bowling. Kumble had 3 for 122 in 47 overs. By Tea, India had started off cautiously getting 20 for no loss in 7 overs.

In the final session, it was all about attacking the bowling and stretching the lead quickly to a big one. Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik provided a perfect launching pad with a fifty-run stand. Both played some smashing shots before they got themselves dismissed slogging against the leg break of Danish Kaneria. Karthik made 28 with 5 fours from 55 balls while his partner Jaffer carried on from his first innings’ double century with a 75-ball 56 (with 8 fours). India promoted MS Dhoni and Ganguly up the order at no.3 and no.4 respectively and the two took India to 141 for 2 in 36 overs by stumps. Dhoni has got 28 and Ganguly has got 24 as India stretched its lead to 301.