India clinch an historic win
India 675 for 5 dec (Sehwag 309, Tendulkar 194*, Yuvraj 59) beat Pakistan 407 (Hameed 91, Inzamam 77, Pathan 4-100) and 216 (Youhana 112, Kumble 6-72) by an innings and 52 runs
It took India just 12 balls on the final morning to put the lid on their historic maiden Test win in Pakistan. If Rahul Dravid, leading the side in Sourav Ganguly's absence, had sat down and written a script for his dream Test match, it would have been exactly as this one played out. Pakistan were bowled out for 216 after following on, and India won by an innings and 52 runs. After 52 years of India-Pakistan encounters, 49 years after India first toured Pakistan, they could finally savour the sweet taste of victory here.
And it was sweet. For the team had come together spectacularly over four days and a bit. When the final wicket fell, every member of the team rushed towards the stumps at both ends. Within minutes only the two stumps that housed cameras were left standing. Instinctively the team gathered in a huddle and began to jump up and down, unable to contain their joy. The huddle, which has become a feature of Indian cricket in recent times, was on display again. Some consider it to be an ostentatious display of team spirit and unity, but at the moment it's working for India.
But, winning a Test is not merely about huddles. It's about sticking to a plan over a period of time and delivering the goods. For India Anil Kumble and Irfan Pathan did just that over two innings on a wicket that had nothing in it for the bowlers. And it was fitting that this pair bowled the last two overs of the match.
Kumble began the proceedings on the final day, and bowled from around the wicket in an attempt to exploit the rough created by the fast bowlers' follow-throughs. Yousuf Youhana played out the over safely, and stole a single off the last ball to retain the strike. Pathan was given the ball to send down the second over and he continued to bend his back and put in maximum effort. Youhana struck one gorgeous boundary back down the pitch, and just for a moment it appeared as though he was prepared to go after the bowling.
Pathan then banged the fifth ball in short and Youhana swayed out of the way. Pathan repeated the exercise with the last ball and this time Youhana (112) had to play a shot in order to try for a single to keep the strike. He miscued his pull shot, and Dravid called early to get under the catch that sealed India's win .
This win is all the more significant as it comes in the first Test of a series. India have won solitary Tests in Dhaka, Bulawayo, Kandy, Port of Spain, Leeds and Adelaide before this one in Multan, but none of those wins, barring the one-off Test against Bangladesh, have resulted in series victories. This triumph gives India an excellent chance of winning a series overseas.