It took Pakistan 19 years to do what they did today, that is, beat India in a test match series. In front of a vociferous crowd in the National Stadium, Pakistan secured a record win of 341 runs against their age-old arch-foes. In the last half hour of the day’s play, Abdul Razzaq completed the final rituals by removing Yuvraj Singh as Pakistan completed a most dynamic comeback after looking down and out at 39 for 6 in the opening morning.

The day started amid talks of Pakistan being too defensive and delaying the declaration for individual milestones, and that opinion perhaps was justified. In the middle, however, Faisal Iqbal showed that he is equally capable of improvising in typical one-day fashion and Abdul Razzaq rediscovered his big-hitting touch, as Pakistan piled on the agony onto the beleaguered Indian bowling lineup. In the end, the hosts tallied up at 599 for 7 at which point they declared, after Razzaq hit one straight to Yuvraj in pursuit of a century.

When India initiated their innings, Pakistan got the kick-start in the very first over when Shoaib Akhter snared the prize wicket of Captain Rahul Dravid. The dangerous Virender Sehwag was next to follow as he was bowled by a most brilliant off-cutter by young Mohammad Asif. VVS Laxman then followed in similar fashion, bringing back memories of Umar Gul’s stunning spell at Lahore two years ago.

After the three quick wickets, Pakistan was right on top of the Indians, who looked perplexed at the state of their innings. Saurav Ganguly, as always under immense pressure, walked in next. Both Ganguly and Tendulkar started in aggressive manner, as if realizing that there was nothing to lose. The two senior men played a few delightful off-side strokes before Tendulkar was undone by an Asif delivery that once again dipped back sharply and kept a little low as it floored the maestro.

Yuvraj and Ganguly then played aggressively as they combined for a 103-run partnership safely seeing off the second session. But before Indian fans could harbor any hopes of a miraculous comeback, Razzaq, whose selection was roundly criticized ahead of frontline bowler Naved-ul-Hasan, took out Ganguly off the first ball after tea. And from then on, a procession followed as none of the lower order bats failed to support Yuvraj Singh who struck a brave century despite of some gorgeous bowling spells from Asif and Razzaq.

In conclusion, Yuvraj scored 122 out of a total of 265 as India was once again bundled out within 60 overs in the same test match. India would be ruing the fact that there middle order of Laxman, Tendulkar and Ganguly failed once again to put up a noticeable fight in pressure-cooker conditions.

The Indian bowling as well left much to be desired. The Indian medium-pacers, after a stunning display of seam and swing, were unsuccessful in keeping a consistent line and length in the second innings. Indian coach Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid would need to do some serious re-think in regards to team composition and strategy if they want to pose a serious challenge to a team that is playing with great verve and unity.

On the other hand, Pakistan once again confirmed their fight-back spirit. Being 0/3 in the very first over of the game losing Younis and Yousuf in the process, and then being 39/6 at one stage, the home team still managed to pull back miraculously, and that too when they were without the services of Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

Pakistan, at this moment, is experiencing a period of consistent success, something they haven’t achieved over the years. They would want to continue the trend and complete what would be one of the most memorable winters in recent memory.

by AKPower