India spin historic series win in Pak

Qaiser Mohammad Ali

Rawalpindi, April 16:

India scripted a historic Test series win over Pakistan, with a convincing innings and 131-run victory in the third and final Test at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday. It was India’s first-ever Test series triumph on Pakistani soil since the two countries began Test exchanges in October 1952 with a match at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla. India’s first Test win in Pakistan was on April 1 when Rahul Dravid led the team to an innings-and-52-run verdict in its favour at the Multan Cricket Stadium. In the next Test Pakistan staged a comeback with a nine-wicket win at Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore.

Leg-spinner Anil Kumble took four wickets on Friday, while Rahul Dravid was the man of the match for his 270-run knock. Virender Sehwag, who had a scored India’s first ever triple century in the first Test, was adjudged the man of the Series. Pakistan started the day at 49 for two, with Yasir Hameed on eight and Kamran Akmal on 10. The home side was fighting with its back against the wall, amidst talk of trainer-cum-doctor Tauseef Razzaq — who was on medical leave — having finally quit.

Hameed was the first to go, after adding just 12 to his overnight score, as left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra forced an edge to wicket keeper Parthiv Patel. Inzamam-ul-Haq, from whom much was expected, looked tentative and left quickly with Lakshmipathy Balaji inducing him to snick to Parthiv. This was despite the Indians’ sloppy fielding. They dropped as many as four catches, but it seemed that the Pakistanis’ hearts were not in the game and they failed to cash in on the lapses.

But Asim Kamal, who batted with an injured right arm, put up a brave face while remaining unbeaten on 60. The left-hander, who had scored a gritty 73 at Lahore, played some delightful strokes on the off side hitting 13 boundaries off 90 balls. Kumble struck twice from the other end, removing vice-captain Yousuf Youhana (48) and Mohammed Sami on successive deliveries, one off the last ball of one over and the next off the first ball of the subsequent over. But Shoaib Akhtar denied Kumble the hat-trick as he took a big swipe off the next delivery and the resultant edge went to the third man boundary. He was eventually out for a 14-ball 28, which included four boundaries and two sixes. Others did not last long and it was only a matter of time before India registered their first Test series triumph in Pakistan — 37 minutes after lunch.