India zero in on win in first Pakistan Test
by AFP

Ground:Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Z Khan, SC Ganguly, Misbah-ul-Haq, RS Dravid, SR Tendulkar
Event:Pakistan in India 2007/08

DateLine: 25th November 2007


India closed in on victory in the first Test against Pakistan after a determined batting performance in the second innings at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground here on Sunday.


India were 171-3 at stumps on the penultimate day chasing a 203-run target, with opener Wasim Jaffer (53), Sourav Ganguly (48 not out) and Sachin Tendulkar (32 not out) all contributing vital runs.


India needed 32 runs to win with seven wickets in hand to gain a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series when bad light stopped play.


Tendulkar (11,183) also surpassed former Australian captain Allan Border's 11,174 runs to become the second-highest scorer in Tests. Retired West Indies skipper Brian Lara currently leads the list with 11,953.


Jaffer showed the way with his ninth half-century as he put on 82 for the second wicket with Rahul Dravid before former captains Ganguly and Tendulkar added 78 for the unfinished fourth-wicket stand to consolidate the position.


Pakistan needed wicket-taking bowlers to keep pressure on India after setting a modest target, but could find only one in paceman Shoaib Akhtar who finished with 3-41 off 15 probing overs.


Akhtar bowled his heart out on a placid track, testing the batsmen with his pace and variations. He briefly raised his team's hopes with three key wickets.


He had Dinesh Karthik (one) caught behind in his opening over before accounting for well-set Jaffer and Dravid, but lacked support from the other end on a low, slow wicket.


Jaffer fell immediately after completing his half-century with the eighth four, pulling Akhtar to Salman Butt who dived to his right to bring off a low catch at square-leg.


Akhtar then surprised Dravid with a gem of a delivery which moved in a bit to knock back the leg-stump, but Ganguly and Tendulkar denied Pakistan further success with their sensible knocks.


The match, evenly poised on Saturday, swung in India's favour in the morning session when left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan and part-time seamer Ganguly shared four wickets to dash Pakistan's hopes of setting a challenging target.


The tourists, resuming at 212-5, were dismissed for 247 in their second innings after a below-par batting performance.


Pakistan were let down by stroke-happy batsmen as they lost five wickets for 35 runs, with Zaheer grabbing two in his opening spell and Ganguly two in one over with the second new ball.


Overnight batsmen Kamran Akmal (21) and Misbah-ul-Haq (45), debutant Sohail Tanvir (13) and Mohammad Sami (five) all fell playing strokes when patience was the need of the hour.


India did not have to wait long for their first success as Zaheer struck in his first over to remove Akmal, caught driving away from the body by substitute Yuvraj Singh at point.


Misbah, 29 overnight, went for a big shot off Ganguly's first delivery with the new ball but failed to time it properly and was caught by Karthik running back from mid-on.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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