India close in on victory

New Delhi, November 25:

India closed in on victory in the first Test against Pakistan after a determined batting performance in the second innings here today.

India were 171-3 at stumps on the fourth 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 still need 32 runs to win with seven wickets in hand to gain a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series. 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 leads with 11,953.

Jaffer put on 82 for the second wicket with Rahul Dravid before Ganguly and Tendulkar added 78 for the unfinished fourth-wicket stand to consolidate the position.

Akhtar, who finished with 3-41 off 15 overs, briefly raised his team’s hopes with three key wickets. He had Dinesh Karthik caught behind in his opening over before accounting for well-set Jaffer and Dravid, but lacked support.

Jaffer fell immediately after completing his half-century with the eighth four. Akhtar then surprised Dravid with a gem of a delivery which moved in a bit to knock back the leg-stump.

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 for the hosts.

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 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.

SCOREBOARD

Pakistan — 1st Innings: 231

India — 1st Innings: 276

Pakistan — 2nd Innings: 247

India — 2nd Innings

D Karthik c Akmal b Akhtar 1

W Jaffer c Butt b Akhtar 53

R Dravid b Akhtar 34

S Tendulkar not out 32

S Ganguly not out 48

Extras: 3 (lb3)

Total: 171/3

FoW: 1-2, 2-84, 3-93

Pakistan bowling: Akhtar 15-4-41-3,

Tanvir 12-4-26-0, Kaneria 15-2-45-0,

Sami 12.5-1-56-0