M A I N   N E W S

Team India create history in Pak
M.R. Mishra

Multan, April 1
After a 50-year wait, India finally humbled Pakistan on its home turf for the first time to record its biggest-ever win abroad, marking yet another high for the resurgent team that recently triumphed in the one-day series against the arch-rivals.

The Indians took just 12 balls on the final day to record the historic win when left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan got rid of centurion Yousuf Youhana (112) dispelling any faint hopes of a miracle for the home side, overnight 207 for nine, who were bundled out for 216 after having made 407 in the first innings. India had scored 675 for five, built around a record 309 by Virender Sehwag and an unbeaten 194 by Sachin Tendulkar, before declaring.

The win by an innings and 52 runs is the biggest of the meagre 20 victories India have recorded abroad in 72 years since they joined the ranks of Test-playing nations in 1932. They have played 20 Tests in Pakistan over five previous tours, losing five with the rest being drawn.

Exultant stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid credited the victory to “team effort” and said the team would “continue in the same vein” in the remaining two Tests at Lahore (April 5-9) and Rawalpindi (April 13-17).

An ecstatic Indian team erupted in joy and then got into a huddle which has signified team spirit and bonding in recent times.

A sparse Pakistani crowd watched the historic moment as the thrilled Indian cricketers posed for photographs to record the momentous occasion.

Two more Tests remain to be played in this series at Lahore and Rawalpindi and after today’s defeat a dejected Pakistani captain Inzamam-ul Haq promised that his team would come back in the series.

Appropriately, Virender Sehwag won the man-of-the-match award for his knock of 309 which enabled India to reach a mammoth 675 for five in the first innings, a total Pakistan could not match in both the innings, scoring 407 in the first and 216 in the second after following on.

Another key contributor to India’s win was veteran spinner Anil Kumble who proved all cricket pundits wrong by taking two for 100 and six for 72 on a flat wicket, coming back to the side after missing the one-day series due to a shoulder injury.

India’s find of the tour Pathan followed up his four for 100 in Pakistan’s first innings with another lion-hearted performance taking two wickets in 21 overs in which he gave only 26 runs. He troubled virtually every Pakistani batsman and former greats like Imran Khan, always conservative with his compliments, and Ian Chappell see in him the potential to become another Wasim Akram.

When play began this morning, Pakistan had virtually no hope of saving the Test with their last pair at the wicket. Only rain could have rescued the home side and a light cloud cover may have raised faint hopes of a miracle but it was all over after India had bowled just 12 balls.

Kumble opened the attack this morning bowling to Youhana, overnight 107, who hit him for a four and a single in the over. Pathan then bounced his last ball to Youhana who tried to hook it only to give a catch to India’s stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid at mid wicket. Youhana’s defiant 112-run knock came off 164 balls with the help of 16 fours and two sixes.

But for the Pakistani vice-captain, none of the batsmen showed application on what was a perfect batting strip and threw away their wickets in reckless fashion on the fourth day yesterday when 13 Pakistani wickets fell.

A remarkable team effort had seen India come tantalisingly close to their first-ever Test win in Pakistan after the fourth day’s play yesterday.

On a humiliating day for the home side, the Indians quickly knocked off the last four wickets of Pakistan’s first innings, enforced the follow-on and then left them on a pathetic 207 for nine in the second innings.

Sachin Tendulkar, whose unbeaten 194 in the first innings was overshadowed by Sehwag’s record-breaking feat, did his bit with the ball also, first claiming the wicket of Moin Khan with a brilliant ‘wrong-un’ off the last ball of the third day and then returning next morning to dismiss Shoaib Akhtar in Pakistan’s first innings.

The match between the arch-rivals, being played on Pakistani soil after a gap of 15 years, had its share of controversy and drama as well.

First it was the timing of declaration by Rahul Dravid which hogged the headlines as it left Tendulkar short of his fourth double century by just six runs. — PTI


PM congratulates Indian team

New Delhi: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee congratulated the Indian cricket team for its splendid victory in the first Test match against Pakistan in Multan on Thursday. Vajpayee sent a congratulatory message to the winning team, a PMO spokesman said. — PTI 

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