India sense victory in Mohali

Associated Press

Mohali, March 11:

Laxmipathy Balaji and Anil Kumble combined to take five wickets on Friday and dispose of Pakistan’s top-order in the second innings as India sensed victory in the first Test. Trailing by 204 runs in the first innings, Pakistan was 257 for six in its second knock at the close of fourth day’s play, giving it a lead of just 53 with the last recognised pair of batsmen at the crease.

Pakistan was bowled out for 312 in its first innings, while India replied with 516. Seam bowler Balaji (3-67) and leg-spinner Kumble (2-76) bowled India into a winning position as Pakistan faltered despite a defiant 139-run fourth-wicket partnership between skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq (86) and Yousuf Youhana (68).

Pakistan made a jittery start to its second innings, slumping to 10 for 3 before Inzamam and Youhana pulled it back into the contest. But the departure of these two batsmen, and first-innings’ top-scorer Asim Kamal (48), left Pakistan facing defeat. At stumps, Razzaq was batting on 22 and Kamran Akmal was on nine. Pakistan’s top-order batsmen fumbled as Balaji dismissed opener Taufeeq Umar (4) and Younis Khan (1). Fast bowler Irfan Pathan (1-45) removed opener Salman Butt (5) as Pakistan struggled to find its feet. Umar was unlucky to be given out caught and bowled by Balaji on the ninth ball of the innings. Television replays indicated Umar’s bat did not come into contact with the ball.

Balaji felled Younis Khan’s stumps with an inswinger in his next over, while Butt was caught behind by Dinesh Karthik when he edged an outswinger from Pathan. Inzamam and Youhana had shared their eighth century stand for the fourth wicket — overtaking the seven hundred-run partnerships for the fourth wicket between Australia’s Waugh brothers, Steve and Mark.

Inzamam struck one six and 10 boundaries off 105 deliveries. Youhana then put on 44 runs in a cautious fifth-wicket stand with Kamal. Youhana’s watchful 206-minute knock contained 12 boundaries off 145 deliveries, while Kamal swung Kumble for an onside six and hit six boundaries from 87 balls.

Youhana fell playing a defensive stroke against Kumble, only to watch the ball deflect on to the stumps after hitting his bat and pad. Kamal got a chance before he scored a run as slip fielder Rahul Dravid failed to snap an edge off Kumble. Kamal became Balaji’s eighth victim of the match. Resuming at the overnight score of 447/6, the Indian batsmen added 69 runs as VVS Laxman completed his half century before legspinner Danish Kaneria posted figures of six for 150. Kaneria’s spell on Friday fetched him four for 29, starting with Akmal’s stumping of Pathan (13). Balaji chipped in with a brisk 36-ball 31 and shared a defiant 42-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Laxman. Balaji hit four boundaries before being caught by Akmal off Kaneria. Laxman’s patient 194-minute 58 contained nine boundaries from 125 deliveries.