Pakistan successfully managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of another imminent defeat against India with Younis Khan and Yousuf Mohammad putting up an almost impenetrable barrier of defense on the final day of 2nd Test match being played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Tuesday, December 4, 2007. After putting Pakistan under immense pressure by making early inroads in their batting line up, Indian bowlers failed to keep up the momentum and fielders added to the misery by floundering whatever vital chances came their way. Ultimately it cost India nothing less than a consecutive Test victory against arch-rivals Pakistan which would have sealed the three-match Test series in India's favour. Pakistan, on the other hand, kept alive their hopes of leveling the series in the 3rd and final Test match to be played at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore from 8-12 December 2007.
As the second day began, history was still in the making even as Pakistan claimed the priceless wicket of Wasim Jaffer early in the day just after he completed a fiery double ton against Pakistan. Indians had, however, other plans in mind, which soon became clear as Ganguly and Laxman took Pakistani bowling apart with their batting acumen and strategic approach to build up a memorable 163- run stand for the 5th wicket and contributed centuries apiece to set the stage for an upcoming battle against the subcontinental rivals. Dhoni stepped in after Ganguly lasted with a flourish and chipped in with another half-century to take the total for India at 616 runs for 5 wickets before Kumble declared the innings. After beginning their first innings late in the day, Pakistan went through early jitters as Yasir Hameed was caught plumb in front of the wicket by Kumble. Salman Butt and Younis Khan carried on the proceedings with Pakistan scoreboard reading 50 runs for 1 wicket before the play was called off due to bad light.
The third day proved to be the most eventful one with a twist in the tale being added with every new development on the field. To begin with, India struck gold prior to lunch and Pakistan was teetering on the brink of defeat with 150 runs for 5 wickets while chasing the target of 617 runs in the first innings, which seemed a far cry with a seemingly inevitable possibility of follow-on being forced on them. Things were meant to happen differently, however, as Misbah-ul-haq and Kamran Akmal rose to the occasion to come up with their sublime best and stand firm in the face of fierce Indian bowling attack, determined to make it last as long as possible and with good success too. It was only 2 overs before the end of the day, that Kamran Akmal was wiped out by Harbhajan Singh but only after completing yet another century against India. Pakistan closed the day at 358 runs for 6 wickets with the threat of follow-on almost thwarted.
Things happened rather swiftly on the fourth day, as Mohammad Sami developed a crucial 91-run partnership with Misbah-ul-haq before bowing out with cameo and Pakistan was bundled out by the middle of the day at a score of 456 runs with Misbah remaining unbeaten with a lifetime knock of 161 runs slimming India's lead to a mere 160 runs. With but little time left to correct the balance of things and victory seemingly slipping out of hands, India started out with their second innings to score 141 runs in the last 36 overs of the day after losing its openers to the deceptive pace of Danish Kaneria.
On the fifth day, India continued in its quest of posting a chaseable target, which could bring India a chance to bundle out Pakistan if they went all out lured by the prospect of victory. After losing a couple of wickets to speedster Shoaib Akhtar and scoring another 43 runs at a good pace, India declared at 184 runs for 4 wickets which took the total lead of India to 344 runs. The plan was apparently working well, as Pakistan inching ever closer to defeat with the loss of every wicket guided by an elusive sense of approaching victory. But the fall of 4 wickets for 78 runs jolted Pakistan out of its slumber as the side realized that victory was now but a dream and defending their wickets is the only way to keep any chances of leveling the series alive. From now on, Pakistani batsmen grew determined to make it till the end making the famed Indian bowling attack diminish into insignificance. The veteran duo of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf withstood their ground to steer Pakistan clear of the possibility of another defeat at the hands of India even as the likes of Harbhajan and Patel struggled to find another breakthrough to open the floodgates of Indian victory but without any luck. An immature fielding strategy on the part of Indians only added to their woes letting Pakistan get away with a draw, which could frustrate any side who sniffed victory close at hand for nearly four and a half days before being denied the same at the eleventh hour. Still, for every reason, it was only themselves Indians had to blame for the fiasco as Younis Khan scored another fabulous victory to make their intentions for the upcoming match clear enough. Finally, both the captains called it a day with half an hour before the official closing time as Pakistan effectively thwarted the threat of another defeat. Still, at the end of the day, India retained its lead by 1-0 in the three Test match series with the final one yet to be played. For both of the sides, it will be a war of nerves to end up with things on the brighter side.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012