India v Pakistan
India v Pakistan, 2004-05
At Kolkata, March 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 2005. India won by 195 runs. Toss: India.
Rahul Dravid enjoyed an epic Test match, scoring two brilliant centuries and delivering India from a hazardous position to the threshold of a comprehensive victory. John Wright, India's coach, paid an awed tribute to him afterwards, calling him "a great, great cricketer".
While Dravid set up India's victory, it was confirmed by Kumble. He took ten wickets in the match, including seven for 63 in the second innings, displaying excellent control. The pitch showed no sign of last-day demons; instead, Kumble relied on building up pressure. He had Younis Khan stumped down the leg side off the first ball of the final morning and never allowed Pakistan to settle.
But there were losers, too, in the home side. The supporters who once booed Dravid for his defensive instincts turned their ire on the so-called Prince of Kolkata, Ganguly. Two more failures meant he was running out of friends even in his home city. And Harbhajan Singh's comeback after undergoing remedial work in Australia on his action was wrecked when referee Chris Broad reported him a second time.
Another reputation was also damaged. The old notion that 100,000 Bengalis would turn up at Eden Gardens to watch almost anything was shown to be wholly out of date. "Where has the Fever Gone?" was the headline in the Hindustan Times after the first day's play. Only two ticket counters were open on the first morning, and the touts never even bothered to turn up. Neither did that many of the fans. On this ground, a crowd of 40,000 is a sprinkling, and though attendance did reach 60,000 on the penultimate day, this was nothing like what would once have been expected for such a match-up.
After their failure to close the deal in Mohali, India had opted for Harbhajan's offspin over Zaheer Khan's seam. Pakistan replaced Naved-ul-Hasan, nursing a shoulder injury, with another seamer, Mohammad Khalil, and dropped opener Salman Butt in favour of Shahid Afridi, who offered a shock tactic with his strokeplay plus variety with his leg-spin.
Dravid spent most of the first day establishing India's dominance, while Pakistan's captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, spent most of it off the field suffering from dehydration. After a robust 81 from Sehwag, Dravid took total control. Over nearly five hours, he hit 15 fours and a six on his way to 110. His biggest partnership was 122 with Tendulkar, who became the fifth player - after Sunil Gavaskar, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Brian Lara - to complete 10,000 Test runs, matching Lara's record of 195 innings exactly. Dravid was finally caught behind in the last over of the day; India were already 344, and the tail took them past 400.
Knowing they would have to bat last on a wearing pitch, Pakistan had to match that total at least. That they got within 14 runs was down to a third-wicket stand of 211 between Younis Khan and Yousuf Youhana. Both scored centuries - Youhana relying on flair, and Younis on old-fashioned hard work. But their team-mates failed to follow their lead, with Inzamam's 30 the next-highest score.
India were batting again by the third afternoon and, for the first time in the series, Pakistan made an impression with the new ball: Mohammad Sami bowled both openers in his first two overs. After tea, Steve Bucknor, who had claimed a record of his own by becoming the first umpire to stand in 100 Tests, controversially gave Tendulkar out caught behind. Next morning, Sami struck again, removing Ganguly and causing Laxman to retire after hitting him on the eyebrow. With India only 170 ahead, Pakistan's hopes rose. But as a crisis loomed, Dravid was calm and collected. For the second time in his Test career, he reached two hundreds in a match; the second century was even better than the first, and was his 20th in all. Greeted with a tumultuous reception by the crowd, it quelled Pakistan's exuberance. With Karthik offering invaluable support and narrowly missing a maiden Test century himself, India recovered to 407 - the same as their first innings.
Pakistan's fears of a final-day collapse soon came true as Younis's stumping began their slide to defeat. Everyone struggled against Kumble's variety and accuracy, and it was all over when Harbhajan's doosra bowled Danish Kaneria. Harbhajan was baffled to learn his action was under suspicion again, but his worries were subsumed by the celebrations: it was India's first victory over Pakistan in six Tests at Kolkata.
Man of the Match: R. Dravid.