M A I N   N E W S

India set to clinch series
Dravid hits career-best 270; Pak lose 2 wickets
M.R. Mishra

Rahul Dravid plays a shot during the second day of the third and final Test
Rahul Dravid plays a shot during the second day of the third and final Test match between India and Pakistan at P
indi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Rawalpindi, April 15
Pressing on relentlessly in their pursuit of a first-ever series triumph in Pakistan, India had the home side on the mat after Rahul Dravid reached another batting landmark by scoring 270 on the third day of the series-deciding Test here today.

After scoring a massive 600 to take a mammoth 375-run first innings lead by the post-tea session, the visitors knocked off both the Pakistan openers to leave the hosts struggling at 49 for two. Pakistan had made 224 in their first essay.

Dravid, who had been batting since the last session of day one, became the first Indian to have scored five double centuries in Test cricket before he fell after tea today reverse sweeping an Imran Farhat ball into his stumps. The 495-ball effort, the Indian vice-captain’s career-best knock, contained a six and 34 boundaries.

Hit hard by the absence of their best bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who injured his thumb on the follow-through towards the close of play last evening and did not come out at all to the ground today, Pakistan bowlers toiled all day but got success only when it was already too late.

The highlight of the day’s proceedings was certainly the batsmanship of Dravid who again lived upto his reputation as “The Wall” and slammed his third double century of the season to take his tally to five and eclipse the legendary Sunil Gavaskar’s record of four double tons.

The right-handed batsman also earned the distinction of scoring the highest total at the Pindi Stadium, erasing Salim Malik’s effort of 237.

Dravid displayed tremendous concentration and stamina during his marathon 740-minute vigil at the crease which saw him share century stands with three of the top order batsmen — opener Parthiv Patel, VVS Laxman and skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Ganguly made a fine 128-ball 77 with the help of 12 fours before he was dismissed in a bizarre fashion — being run out after he ducked to a throw from substitute Imran Nazir from point. Yuvraj Singh also chipped in with a valuable 47.

Dravid was the ninth batsman to fall and the Indian first innings folded up for 600 just a few minutes before the last drinks break.

Resuming at the overnight score of 342 for four, Dravid and Ganguly played out the initial overs cautiously and were quite content in waiting for the loose balls for keeping the scoreboard ticking.

A depleted Pakistan bowling attack relied on Mohammad Sami and Fazle Akbar to provide the breakthrough in the morning, but the duo were made to look pedestrian against some quality batting by the opposition.

Dravid appeared picture of concentration as he continued from where he left yesterday and brought about his 150 in style, square driving Sami to the point boundary.

The pair put on 131 runs for the fifth wicket before Ganguly was run out, paying the price for some poor running between the wickets.

The left-hander played the bald towards point and went for a cheeky single but failed to ground his bat. Ganguly made the mistake of trying to avoid the ball hitting him rather than running straight, giving the fielder just that extra second to do his job.

Yuvraj Singh, who joined the action after his captain’s dismissal, took his time to judge the pace and bounce of the track and was quite content in keeping the scoreboard moving with gentle pushes and nudges in the initial stages of his innings.

But after getting his eye in, Yuvraj showed his class with some breath-taking shots, picking up Fazle Akbar for special treatment by clobbering him for a couple of boundaries.

Dravid and Yuvraj stitched 98 runs for the sixth wicket before Sami, who returned for a fresh spell after the drinks break, got rid of Yuvraj, trapping him leg before wicket.

The elegant Dravid, who was dropped on 71 yesterday, had another slice of luck when a confident shout for a catch by Imran Nazir at forward short leg was turned down by umpire David Shepherd with Kaneria being the bowler.


Pakistan (1st innings): 224

India (1st innings:)

Sehwag c Hameed b Shoaid 0

Patel c Akmal b Akbar 69

Dravid b Farhat 270

Tendulkar c Akmal b Akhtar 1

Laxman b Akhar 71

Ganguly run out 77

Yuvraj lbw b Sami 47

Pathan c Akbar b Kaneria 15

Kumble st Akmal b Kaneria 9

Balaji c sub b Farhat 11

Nehra not out 1

Extras (b-11, lb-12, w-6) 29

Total (all out in 177.2 overs) 600

FoW: 1-0, 2-129, 3-130, 4-261, 5-392, 6-490, 7-537, 8-572, 9-593.

Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 21.2-7-47-3, Fazl-el-Akbar 40.4-3-162-1, Danish Kaneria 62-4-178-2, Mohammad Sami 40-11-116-1, Imran Farhat 12.2-1-69-2, Yasir Hameed 1-0-5-0.

Pakistan (2nd innings):

Farhat C Sehwag b Balaji 3

Umar lbw b Pathan 13

Hameed batting 8

Akmal batting 10

Extras (b-5, lb-7, w-1, nb-2) 15

Total (for 2 wkts in 15 overs) 49

FoW: 1-30, 2-34

Bowling: Irfan Pathan 7-5-7-1, Laxmipathy Balaji 7-1-30-1, Anil Kumble 1-1-0-0. — PTI

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