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Younis Khan’s ton secures draw for Pak

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At around 3:30 PM, the Kolkata Test Match came to an end, a result that pleased the Pakistani team. It was a draw that was forced by the visitors after all the catching up job they had to do after India had piled up a massive 616 on the board in their first innings. On the fifth and final day, Pakistan were in a spot of bother losing four wickets and still having more than 40 overs to negotiate. They did that quite comfortably through the old and experienced pair of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf.

Younis Khan, the acting captain for Pakistan in this Test Match led from the front to score a match saving century. Early on, India batted for around 30 minutes in the morning before it declared its second innings at 184 for 4 leaving a target of 345 for Pakistan in about 80 overs. The overnight pair of Dhoni (37 from 61 balls with 2 fours) and Ganguly (46 from 58 with 4 fours) hardly wasted any time in stretching India’s lead. When both these batsmen were done in by off cutters from Shoaib Akhtar, the declaration came from the Indian Captain. Pakistan were forced to get Kamran Akmal to open instead of Salman Butt as the latter was out of the ground for a few minutes today because of a stomach bug.

The new opening combination of Yasir Hameed and Kamran Akmal started off in a positive fashion. However, a brilliant return catch by Zaheer Khan in his follow through revived India’s hopes of making further inroads. Yasir Hameed (14 from 26) was the man who got out after trying to drive Zaheer on the up. Kamran Akmal and the unwell but determined Salman Butt saw the morning session through without any further damage. Pakistan had seen through 20 overs in that session at the loss of Yasir Hameed. The fortunes changed in the afternoon session after Kamran Akmal got cleaned up by a surprising leg break from Kumble in the second ball of the session. Akmal (14 from 42) went onto the backfoot looking to work Kumble towards the onside but the ball for a change had turned sharply to go past the bat and strike the timber.

Kumble and co. had to wait for quite some time to find their next scalp. It came in the form of Salman Butt (11 from 91 balls) who was trapped by a sharp turning leg break from Kumble making the score at 65 for 3. It could have been four down very soon but for a half chance put down by Dinesh Karthik at short leg which gave a life to Misbah-ul-Haq. It wasn’t Misbah’s day this time round as he got castled by a deadly off cutter from Munaf Patel that could have got any top order batsman out. Misbah stayed for just the 15 balls and his fall had Pakistan at 78 for 4 in 40 overs. That dismissal gave way to Pakistan’s best batsmen – Younus and Yousuf, who was held back at no.6. That move of having Yousuf come at no.6 paid off for Pakistan as he put on a comforting partnership with Yousuf that never gave any chances for the Indians. Younus in the course of his innings helped his way to his 15th test hundred. Runs were coming freely for the Pakistanis as the Indians were only bothered about taking wickets.

The Test Match came to a close with Pakistan sitting pretty at 214 for 4 batting out 77 overs. Younus got 107 facing 182 balls with 14 fours and Yousuf got himself 44 after batting out 110 balls. The big let down for India was Harbhajan Singh, who went wicketless despite bowling 31 overs. The Man of the Match could have gone to Misbah-ul-Haq for his innings under tremendous pressure but it instead went to the elegant Wasim Jaffer for striking a double century and a fifty. The third and final test is at Bangalore from the 8th.