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Pakistan v India, 2nd Test, Lahore, 4th day

Pakistan romp to series-levelling win

The Wisden Bulletin by Dileep Premachandran

April 8, 2004

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Pakistan 489 and 40 for 1 beat India 287 and 241 (Sehwag 90, Patel 62*, Kaneria 3-14) by 9 wickets
Scorecard



Shoaib Akhtar dealt the killer punch this morning when he nailed Virender Sehwag © AFP
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Pakistan needed just seven overs to knock off the 40 they required to clinch a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over India in the second Test at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Having been humbled in just over four days at Multan, they returned the favour with interest at Lahore, finishing off India's feeble challenge in just over 10 sessions. They lost Imran Farhat (9) - caught at point by Yuvraj off Lakshmipathy Balaji's bowling - but Taufeeq Umar and Yasir Hameed cantered past the target with the aid of some superb drives.

Parthiv Patel's defiant, unbeaten 62 had allowed India to avoid an innings defeat. Resuming on 149 for 5, they were bowled out for 241 a few minutes before lunch, losing their last three wickets to Danish Kaneria for just 6 runs.

Virender Sehwag, who had batted with the air of a man who wore worries lightly yesterday, never managed to get into his stride in the morning, struggling to time the ball with his usual fluency. Shoaib Akhtar frequently cramped him for room, and beat him for pace, and it was no real surprise when Sehwag had a flail at a delivery that was pitched fairly wide outside off stump. The ball took the top edge, and went through to Kamran Akmal. With Sehwag gone for 90 (160 for 6), it was only a matter of when India would subside.

Irfan Pathan had made a cultured 49 in the first innings, but lasted just four balls at the second time of asking. Shoaib bowled him three bouncers in succession, two of which he almost gloved perilously close to fielders. The fourth was even more lethal, taking the splice on its way to Taufeeq, who took a simple catch running to his left at second slip (160 for 7).

Patel was then struck a sickening blow in the groin by Mohammad Sami, but showed tremendous courage and skill to square-cut Sami for four, and pull Shoaib behind square for another boundary. Agarkar, whose Test century at Lord's stands alone as testament to his batting ability, started with a streaky four down to third man off Sami, but then played three glorious square drives off Umar Gul to ensure that Pakistan would have to bat again. He was fortunate though to be given not out by Steven Bucknor, when a Kaneria delivery struck him plumb in front.

Patel continued to drive and cut with power and authority, and a glide down to third man off Gul got him to 50. A slashed drive off Sami followed, as India harboured visions of an unlikely comeback.

The end, when it came, was swift. Agarkar slammed Kaneria for a straight four and another over mid-on, before edging the next ball to Taufeeq at first slip (235 for 8). Agarkar made 36, and added 75 runs with Patel in next to no time.

In his very next over, Kaneria applied the finishing touches, having Kumble stumped by Akmal - the third umpire viewed the replay several times before the light went red - and then trapping Balaji plumb in front. Perhaps exhilarated by the manner in which Pakistan had taken charge of the match, Gul uprooted the stumps at the bowlers end, forgetting that there was the small matter of 40 runs to knock off.

He only needed to wait another hour though, as Pakistan capped off a performance every bit as emphatic and dominating as India's had been at Multan. It set up a tantalising finale at Rawalpindi, starting next Tuesday, but it was impossible to escape the feeling that the force was now with Pakistan.

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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