India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore, 2nd day March 25, 2005

Effective without the doosra

On the Ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan

If the first day of the Bangalore Test belonged to Inzamam-ul-Haq, then Younis Khan stole the show on the second. His batting yesterday went almost unnoticed due to Inzamam's brilliance, but when Inzamam fell, Younis took centrestage quite effortlessly. Younis scored 127 off 267 balls on the opening day - a scoring rate of 47.57 per 100 balls; on the second day, he added 140 off just 237 balls, that's a rate of nearly 60.

None of the bowlers made much of an impression on Younis - he didn't decimate any of the four frontline bowlers, scoring at between 2.98 and 3.28 per over against them, but he was rarely troubled: Younis's in-control factor was a healthy 82.74%, and apart from a chance in the slips which VVS Laxman spilled, Younis offered no opportunities to the Indians. As Younis's wagon-wheel shows, he was equally prolific on both sides of the wicket, though more than half his boundaries came in the arc between third man and cover.

India's star of the day was Harbhajan Singh, who despite almost completely shunning the doosra still managed to take six wickets. He bowled only two doosras on the first day, and none at all in the second, when all those wickets came his way. The key was his exceptional control over both line and length - of the 291 balls he bowled to the right-handers, 222 were pitched on a good-length outside off stump, just the right area which would give him the maximum chance to pick up wickets. On a pitch offering little by way of turn or bounce, Harbhajan relied on control, flight and subtle change of pace, and was finally rewarded for his toil.