India v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Kolkata January 3, 2013

Pakistan take series as India batting fails again


Pakistan 250 (Jamshed 106, Hafeez 76, Ishant 3-34, Jadeja 3-41) beat India 165 (Dhoni 54*, Ajmal 3-20, Junaid 3-39) by 85 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

They lost eight successive overseas Tests. They lost a home Test series. And now the ODI world champions have lost a home bilateral series for the first time in more than three years. They are in free fall, and continue to touch a newer nadir each time. The failure of the batsmen has been a common factor in all these reversals, and it was no different at Eden Gardens. Despite the bowlers taking ten wickets for 109 to keep Pakistan to 250, India crumbled without any fight, losing their top five batsmen before they had reached 100. The tail had collapsed before MS Dhoni could even think about improbables such as miracles.

Pakistan added to their record of being the only side, other than Australia, to inflict home ODI series defeats on India in the previous ten years. They also continued their impressive record at Eden Gardens, and have now won all their four ODIs against India at the ground. Nasir Jamshed, one of the finest young batsmen around, made his third successive ODI century against India, whose batsmen carried their struggles from Chennai to Kolkata.

Junaid Khan bowled his heart out in an opening spell of 7-1-18-2, taking out Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli. Umar Gul came in to remove a subdued and edgy Virender Sehwag, and followed it up with the dismissal of Yuvraj Singh. Suresh Raina was peppered with short balls before falling to Mohammad Hafeez's offspin. India went from 42 for 0 to 95 for 5. Dhoni was left battling alone, and again, he battled till the very end, refusing several singles with the last man Ishant Sharma and hitting the odd boundary, despite knowing that all of it was in vain, despite knowing that he was the only man in this line-up prepared to fight.

Sehwag and Gambhir may have put on 42, but their partnership was full of plays-and-misses and inside edges eluding the stumps. And eight of those 42 runs came off two overthrows to the boundary, courtesy Hafeez.

The tall Mohammad Irfan continued to test India with his bounce, but Junaid's was the standout spell. Displaying superb control, Junaid beat the outside edge on numerous occasions, and also hit Sehwag on the pads a few times. It wasn't unusually good deliveries that got him his wickets, though it could be said he had persevered enough to earn some luck. Gambhir tried to drive a widish length ball, which moved in slightly for the batsman to play on. Kohli fell to an outstanding, leaping take by Kamran Akmal down the leg side.

There was nothing fortuitous about Sehwag's fall, Gul bending one back in sharply to strike the leaden-footed batsman in front of middle. The senior opener had had another poor outing, after averaging 21.70 in ODIs in 2012.

Yuvraj had a nervy stay as well, eventually edging an attempted pull off a Gul bouncer to the wicketkeeper. Raina had already been tested by the inevitable short balls, had escaped a run-out chance, and went stumped as he lunged to drive a Hafeez delivery.

The batsmen's meek capitulation meant the fightback from the bowlers, kickstarted by Ravindra Jadeja, was in vain. Pakistan had zoomed to 141 for 0 inside 24 overs before Jadeja, playing because Dhoni wanted an allrounder bowling instead of part-timers, broke the opening partnership by removing Hafeez, and later dismissed the centurion Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal within three deliveries. Pakistan sputtered on a slightly uneven pitch, which seemed to get somewhat difficult for batting as the balls got older.

It all started with an ungainly sweep from Hafeez, who till then, had timed the ball beautifully in his fourth century stand with Jamshed in nine ODI innings. Suddenly, all momentum seemed to drain from the innings. Ishant gave nothing away, bowling a tight line from the other end. And things began to work for India.

In Jadeja's next over, Azhar Ali trotted out of his crease even as the bowler was appealing for lbw. MS Dhoni was alert enough to reach the ball and lob it back before Azhar could return. In the 35th over, just before the batting Powerplay was to be taken, fortune, and the sweep, struck for India. Younis Khan inside-edged Suresh Raina on to his pad, and was given leg-before. Pakistan were still strongly placed at 177 for 3, but after Misbah-ul-Haq departed lbw to R Ashwin in the first over of the batting Powerplay, they took just 26 off it.

Jamshed, struggling to time the ball now, still kept going. Jadeja was not done yet, though. First ball on his return in the 42nd over, he had Jamshed stranded way down the pitch for Dhoni to complete the stumping on the second attempt. Two balls later, he spun one away from Kamran Akmal for the thick-edged drive to fly to slip, a position Dhoni stuck to even at that late stage. Pakistan had soon lost ten wickets for 109 in 24.4 overs, scarcely believable numbers after their start.

Overcast Kolkata skies and his batsmen's capitulation in swinging Chennai conditions had made Dhoni ask Pakistan to bat. To his dismay, the promised, prodigious swing didn't show up. Dhoni's bowlers still managed to restrict Pakistan, but his batsmen proved thoroughly unreliable, for the umpteenth occasion in recent times.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Omar on January 6, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    @Harmony111- your replies to me and @JG2704 reveal the paranoia that underlays your approach. Being hostile to the fans of other countries - for example your going onto the England V South Africa forums during 2012 and bashing England fans is going to ensure that India fans are vilified. India fans ganged up on Australia when New Zealand beat them in Hobart. India fans had a crack at England fans when Pakistan washed them in 2012. India fans always have a poke at Sri Lanka fans given any opportunity. None of this has anything to do with India, yet these are the chief reasons why we are the most disliked group of fans in the world. No-one is talking about being sweet and nice. I can't remember anyone ever saying that any World Cup win "doesn't matter". I believe this is an excuse you are making to justify your approach. No-one is talking about being docile or pleasing other fans either - that is your gloss, yet another justification. I have given you a reasonable answer.

  • Harmon on January 5, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    @JG2704: Could not really understand why you LOL'd at the other part of my comment. What I said was a fact. It would be easy to see it was a fact. The SL and Eng fans have been exceedingly caustic, malignant, almost nefarious in their comments about Ind for a long time now. The Oz fans are their usual patronizing self while RoW is seldom seen here. The SL fans followed by Eng fans are the ones who always try to pull Ind down or to somehow link any piece of news to India/BCCI/IPL/Sachin and then shift the focus to bashing them. So your LOL was somewhat misplaced or perhaps you knew the whole thing and couldn't say anything else in a moment of epiphany?

  • Harmon on January 5, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @Hash_tag: Your problem is that while you are worried about what other ppl think about your country and countrymen you don't do anything to change them, instead you ask me to tone down cos YOU want to be seen as docile and YOU want to please the other fans. They would never get pleased no matter how much you try. They will keep on ridiculing you howsoeevr hard you may try to look sweet and be nice to them. Look at the Lankans, each time they are in trouble they call Ind to tour them and look how they try to talk us down. Their fans and their board members and their ex-players. As for the Eng, for 20 years they had not won the Ashes, Tests were no #1 for them till then, now they've won it so Tests become #1 for them n they make fun of Ind. Why do you think I should show respect to fans like these who say Ind's WC win does not matter cos it came at home? If you can give me a nice answer to this one then I will take back all my comments and will stop commenting here at Cricinfo I promise

  • Mohan on January 5, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Quality swing bowling exposed cracks in Indian batmen techniques. I absolutely vote for the two ball rule, use of review system and preparing sporting pitches. Let the best team win!

  • Muhammad Ali on January 5, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    just loving every clash between india and pakistan ... its certainly nothing less than ashes !however i wish to see a proper series of 5 odi , 3 t20s and some test in near future , i am satisfied with the bench strength of pace bowlers ! wabab riaz , anwer ali n another under 19 lad are eagerly waiting to get a chance but junaid n irfan have other plans :) i hope the legacy of faster bowlers continue !! best of luck to both teams :) with love from Pakistan p,s : nasir jamshed is the real surprise package i reckon !! love you

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    i am a proud cricket fan from Pakistan but i would like to point out that the indian selectors are missing a trick by omitting badrinath and pujara from the batting line while in the bowling deptt they should ve given awana a chance

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    well done pakistan, well played deserves that victory

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    great performance by pak team proud on goes to misbah and his team.

  • Syed on January 5, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    This series belonged to Pak with their impressive performance by bowling and batting, for third one day UAkmal to be included in place for Azhar and rest of the team looks fine, looks Pak will do the white wash, apart from the results of this series, people of subcontinent enjoyed thoroughly the game and also provided an opportunity to bring the close relationship between the masses of these two countries.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    I think the war between india and pakistan, all comes down to the selection!. If india has a better selection committee than pak.. india will .. and pakistan has a better one pakistan will.. so this tour goes to pakistani selection committee. Very Well Done !.. Also all the talk about Dhoni.. he was the only player standing. ! i am a pakistan and have huge respect for the Indian players.. Dhoni is one of favorites!