India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore, 4th day March 27, 2005

The longest wait

Amit Varma and Siddhartha Vaidyanathan in Bangalore

Kumble strikes, finally
Never before in a Test has Anil Kumble waited so long for his first wicket. After 46 overs in the first innings - where he was milked, cut and blasted - and 16 overs in the second - where he was reduced to firing it down legside to stem the run-flow - the moment finally arrived. Shifting to the pavilion end, reverting to over the wicket, he speared one on middle stump and managed to break it just enough. Yasir Hameed, who was in the midst of a superb spell as he upped the ante, pushed forward and was beaten by both spin and pace. Kumble spun around to ask the question, Simon Taufel's hand slowly began its ascent and the Bangalore crowd let out a mighty relieved gasp before going completely berserk. (SV)

Glorious certainty
In an unpredictable game, there is at least one element that is always predictable, though not monotonously so: Shahid Afridi will attack. The first time he gets strike in Pakistan's second innings is off the last ball of the first over, from Irfan Pathan. Pathan drops short. Afridi pulls him for four.

He comes on strike to play the fifth ball of Lakshmipathy Balaji's over. No-ball short outside off, Afridi slashes and misses. Next ball, drifting down leg, glanced for four to fine leg. Last ball, lofted off-drive for four. That's now 12 off 4, an average of 3 runs per ball. But don't be misled - Shahid Afridi does not deal in threes. (AV)

Amit Varma is contributing editor of Cricinfo, and writes the independent blogs, India Uncut and The Middle Stage.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is on the staff of Cricinfo.