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Ramiz Raja: Pakistan's bowling lacked bite
Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly's awe-inspiring partnership left the Pakistanis as mere spectators (03:36)
December 8, 2007
India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore, 1st day
Ramiz Raja: Pakistan's bowling lacked biteDecember 8, 2007
Ramiz Raja: Well, the start today promised a tight game but Pakistan nose-dived in the last two sessions to give India the control in this all-important Test. Pakistan lost Shoaib Akhtar early in the match because of a bad back, which severely curtailed their bowling resources. The Pakistan Cricket Board will have to be ruthless and sever the umbilical cord with Akhtar if it wants to succeed. He is simply not fit enough to last them a series and with historical data to back it, [I don't understand why] the authorities trust him and choose to look away from the naked truth. They get hit every time and it is a cause for serious concern.
With a bowler short, Pakistan looked physically challenged and felt exhausted by the pressure of the class of Yuvraj [Singh] and [Sourav] Ganguly. Could they [Pakistan] have played an extra bowler? Maybe. But they could have certainly played with fit bowlers and that would have made Younis Khan's task much more easier. Matches have been won, especially by Australia, by fielding [only] four quality and fit bowlers.
The way Pakistan bowled in the last session, it killed the spirit and stature of an India-Pakistan tie.
Yasir [Arafat] and Salman Butt, who can at best be described as declaration bowlers, were employed on day one of a make or break tie for Pakistan. Arafat looked special in the first session but struggled with his fitness as a result of which his pace dropped considerably in the follow-up sessions. The debutant, who had not played any games on this tour, struggled to face up to Test cricket fitness. [Danish] Kaneria had cramps while [Mohammad] Sami had problems with his line and strategy.
India looked to be in pain in the first session and many eyebrows were raised as to the wisdom of batting first on a track that looked tricky, uncertain and tough to handle. India have depth and class [in their batting] and today they had Yuvraj. The princely posture and superior backlift were sights to savour and boy did he turn it on. Playing his first Test after 18 months, he did not look rusty nor was he nervous. He had to silence the thoughts within himself and to those outside who thought that he wasn't good enough to play at this level. And how well he answered all those questions. His bat sounded like a well-oiled bazooka and he had Ganguly as a partner who was smooth as silk throughout his masterly knock.
The two most graceful left-handers were on view and Pakistan turned out to be mere spectators during that awe-inspiring partnership of more than 300 runs. This pair [Yuvraj-Ganguly] got a hang of this pitch and they were helped by a wayward effort from the Pakistani bowlers, who lacked steam.
India is now half-closing doors on Pakistan. Another 100 runs, and they would have taken the first steps towards achieving that goal. What can Pakistan do tomorrow? Their only hope is to regroup, field better, feel better and close out all negative thoughts in their minds. The lack of bite in their bowling has once again made the job for the [Pakistani] batsmen tough. They will have to bat well and at a quick pace to harbour any sort of a result [in their favour]. But to bat tomorrow, they'll first have to get rid of the remaining Indian batsmen, who are likely to thrive on what has now become a very good pitch to bat on.
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