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India v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 4th day
Ramiz Raja: A target of 325 will make for an interesting chase
December 3, 2007
An unbeaten knock from Misbah-ul-Haq and support from Mohammad Sami ensure Pakistan stay in the game
 
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Kumble and Harbhajan will play a crucial role if India are to win this match © AFP

Ramiz Raja: As we enter the last day [of the Test], the big question for both teams to answer is: do they really want to win this? Are they fearless or [do they] fear failure? If India is to become a force [to reckon with] in international cricket and earn respect, then they will have to learn to take risks and make a move early tomorrow.

How Pakistan will react to the target is a big question for them [Pakistan]. [While] a draw will surely earn them respect, it will not win them the series. Every team must aspire to win, therefore will they step up again in this Test?

India will want to make themselves secure by setting up a challenging target for Pakistan. A target of 325 runs, should make it an interesting run-chase. However, anything more beyond that may not interest Pakistan and may hurt India's chances [to win] as well. We have seen on this pitch that when batsmen decide to defend, there is hope and survival for them. India, therefore, need to encourage Pakistan to play shots.

Misbah [ul-Haq's] heroics continued today and once again he had a familiar, trusted lieutenant with him on the other end - Mohammad Sami. Both drained the energy out of the Indian bowling [attack] and saw Pakistan through in a tense morning session. The Misbah-Sami partnership, not only saved the follow-on for Pakistan, but it also gave lesser time and fewer overs for India to get quick runs on board. Misbah is emerging as the most trustworthy batsman in the series. If he continues in this form for another six months, then he is my candidate to take over Pakistan's captaincy. He has a good cricketing mind and his batting makes us believe that he can handle pressure with grace and guts.

Pakistan will have to bat well irrespective of whether they go for a win or a draw. There will be tremendous pressure on the Pakistan batsmen as [Anil] Kumble and Harbhajan [Singh] will surround them with plenty of fielders. Kumble and Harbhajan will be licking their fingers because the pitch will be at its best for spin.

The last day promises to be an exciting one. Stay tuned.

Ramiz Raja is a former Pakistan batsman, former CEO of the Pakistan board, and currently a commentator and presenter


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