India v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Jamshedpur

Sami and the spitting cobra

Dileep Premachandran in Jamshedpur

April 9, 2005

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With the innings floundering like a paper boat in a storm, Rahul Dravid had looked a class apart, caressing some magnificent drives and showing a composure beyond his team-mates. As long as he remained, so did a chimera of victory. But Mohammad Sami, who had earlier knocked over Sachin Tendulkar to take his 100th ODI wicket, had different ideas. On a pitch that remained an absolute belter, Sami produced a snorter of the highest quality, a delivery that reared up at Dravid's bat handle from just short of a length. Younis Khan made good ground to hold on to the lobbed chance, and Pakistan could smile, secure in the knowledge that the match had been signed, sealed and delivered.

Dhoni's brief cracker

By the time Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked out to bat, the effervescence had already started to depart the stands, with Virender Sehwag trudging back to the pavilion early. By the time he got his eye in, the lull was even more pronounced - Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly swelling their series tally to just 25. But the chants of "Dhoni, Dhoni" must have had some effect on cricket's answer to glam-rock, and some meaty drives, biffs and edges quickly had the run-rate humming along at close to what was required. Against the skiddy accuracy of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan though, such belligerence was fraught with risk, and when Dhoni tried to pull a delivery that hastened on to him, the top-edge carried only as far as Kamran Akmal behind the stumps. Suddenly, the supposed medium-pace trundler who had replaced the self-proclaimed king of fast bowlers, had three wickets, leaving India well and truly rolled over in this steel city.

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
Related Links
News : Bulletin
Players/Officials: MS Dhoni | Mohammad Sami | Naved-ul-Hasan
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of India
Teams: India | Pakistan
Grounds: Keenan Stadium
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