Rudra guides India to series win

Multan, February 16:

Left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh snared four wickets and helped India beat Pakistan by five wickets in the fourth limited-overs international to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Singh took four for 40 as Pakistan was bundled out for 161 in 41.5 overs after Indian captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to field.

Dravid (59 off 72 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (37) later combined in an 85-run third wicket partnership off 106 balls to accomplish the victory in 32.3 overs for the loss of five wickets after star batsman Sachin Tendulkar fell without scoring and Gautam Gambhir departed for 21. Recalled Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Sami (3-42), who got the two early breakthroughs, also trapped Dravid leg before wicket off a full toss in the 28th over but by that time India needed just 29 more runs for victory.

Suresh Raina pulled part-time leg-spinner Imran Farhat for a boundary to clinch victory and stayed unbeaten on 35 off 34 balls while Mahendra Dhoni was not out on 2 as India achieved the target with more than 17 overs to spare.

Earlier, Singh’s effort was well supplemented by some breathtaking Indian catching at Multan Cricket Stadium — the home town of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq — who top scored with 49 off 63 balls.

Singh’s figures could have been more impressive had he not bowled 10 wide balls. Singh removed Shoaib Malik (9) and Younis Khan off successive deliveries in his first over and then in his return spell dismissed super sub Farhat (14) and Abdul Razzaq in the space of five deliveries. India had Pakistan on the ropes by the 13th over when Dravid and Irfan Pathan plucked brilliant diving catches inches off the ground to dismiss Salman Butt and dangerman Malik (9).

Singh’s burst then reduced the home team to 29-4 before Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam

tried to consolidate the innings with a 68-run stand off 77 balls.

The last game will be held in Karachi on Sunday.