Shahid Afridi steamrolled the Indian bowlers for the second time in as many Tests and the fact that India were playing five bowlers and that Pakistan were not in as commanding a position as in Lahore, only made him play a more responsible and marginally less destructive innings.
While the spinners bore the brunt at Lahore (89 runs off 69 balls), in Faisalabad the fast bowlers came under Afridi's hammer, going for 111 runs off 84 balls. In the wake of the 57 runs that Afridi clobbered off 6.3 overs from Harbhajan Singh at Lahore, Rahul Dravid didn't bowl him at Afridi on the second day at Faisalabad. In fact, only 12 off the 128 balls faced by Afridi were bowled by Harbhajan.
Pace in the mid-120 kmph range was never going to fluster Afridi and when the ball was pitched up, he clouted down the ground and when it was short he hoicked over midwicket with ease. Irfan Pathan was listless, lacking in pace and swing, and no matter where he bowled Afridi went after him. Twenty two runs were scored of four short deliveries and even the 20 balls Pathan pitched on a good length cost 25 runs.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo