Kohli's near escape and a Saeed Ajmal special
Virat Kohli's sensational one-day form continued in Mirpur, and he had put India well on course to complete their largest successful chase. There were a few edges towards third man during his innings, but the major concern came when he was on 121. He tried to power a full ball from Umar Gul, but didn't connect well. The ball rolled safely to the leg side, but he lost his bat during the follow-through. To his horror, it flew towards the stumps. Gul watched expectantly, but the bat narrowly missed off stump, and Kohli went on to mete out more punishment to the Pakistan bowlers.
The Shere Bangla stadium was already abuzz with the fans raucously supporting Pakistan, and the PA system blaring out the latest pop hits. All that was drowned out by the roar of a military jet flying around the stadium, and thrilling the crowd by doing a loop. Part of the military routines ahead of the independence day celebrations on March 26, the jet flew past the ground several times. The umpire Ian Gould even stopped Ashok Dinda from bowling till it had passed and left a slightly quieter atmosphere for play to resume.
Sachin Tendulkar was playing one of his carefree innings, and had completed a quick half-century. He had shown ominous signs of form, including an utterly effortless uppercut that went over slips and over the third man boundary. Pakistan's fielding was in pieces, with 17 coming off the 17th over from Wahab Riaz, and India had the momentum. It was time for Saeed Ajmal's doosra to work its magic, and it did. Tendulkar was looking for the turn, and closed the face, getting an edge to slip.
In the 38th over, Umar Akmal gently played the ball towards square leg. Virat Kohli rushed in from deep midwicket, and Rohit Sharma from deep backward square leg, neither realising that the other was also closing in on the ball. Kohli crashed into Rohit's shoulder and both men were down on the ground, reminding some of the recent collision between Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan in Sydney. Like then, neither player was seriously hurt, getting back on their feet after a bit of medical attention. At the SCG, though, Raina had managed to hang on to the ball for a catch, this time the ball trickled through allowing an all-run four.
Even as India's spirits were being crushed by the Pakistan batsmen, Raina gave it a lift with a blinder at extra cover. Younis Khan played a firm lofted inside-out stroke towards Raina, and would have felt he had enough on it to clear the fielder. Raina skipped to his left, before leaping and stretching his right hand across his body to pluck it out of the air. With Pakistan already at 323, there was little elation from Raina despite a spectacular effort.
When Mohammad Hafeez clubbed the first ball of the seventh over above Gautam Gambhir at mid-on, Gambhir expected that the quick outfield would help it to the boundary. Initially, he only made a half-hearted amble towards the ball, before realising that Hafeez hadn't timed it too well and that he had a chance of hauling it back. He then switched to full speed but it was too late, and the ball beat him to the rope.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo