Going for the charge, India lose 2 wickets
After being frustrated by the gritty Pakistani batsmen, India finally dismissed Pakistan for 456 in their first innings, gaining a 160-run first innings lead. Misbah and Sami were India’s tormentors-in-chief in this session as India wiped off the tail effectively.
Mohammad Sami was the first of the wickets to fall in the post-lunch session, falling to part-time bowler VVS Laxman. This was Laxman’s second Test wicket. It brought an end to a defiant and a resilient knock from Sami. Laxman flight it up well, full and outside the off-stump, Sami’s eyes must have lit up as he went for a heave over mid-off, only to be caught at mid-off by Wasim Jaffer. Sami’s innings finally came to an end after occupying the crease for a little over 20 overs. Sami fell for 38.
Sohail Tanvir then followed, caught by Rahul Dravid off Anil Kumble at first slip. He went for the wrong’un from Kumble, which drew him forward and the couldnt manage the extra bounce as Dravid took a neat catch diving to his left. Tanvir failed to score. Shoaib Akhtar didnt hang around for long, as Harbhajan Singh struck two overs later, with Dravid snapping him up, once again at slip. And immediately after sending Akhtar, Kaneria followed him back to the hut, bowled by Harbhajan for 0. Misbah ul-Haq was left stranded at 161.
Pakistan successfully avoided the follow-on this morning, after a stodgy effort from their overnight batsmen. They succeeded in their bid to foil and frustrate the Indian bowlers. Misbah ul-Haq provided stiff resistance and also scored some runs as the Indians were falling short of ideas in their effort to break the partnership. Misbah was soon approaching his 150, while Sami was unbeaten on 24.
Mohammad Sami, at the other end dropped anchor and foiled the Indian attack, led by captain Anil Kumble. He also managed to launch a massive six off the Indian captain, as Pakistan inched closer to wiping off the deficit. The duo brought up their second fifty-run partnership of the series, at an agonizingly slow run-rate of 1.93. They had earlier added 87 for the seventh wicket in New Delhi.
Sami was lucky as Rahul Dravid dropped a tough one at slip when the Indian captain succeeded in producing an edge. The ball flew to Dravid at first slip, but by the time he could move, it struck his hands and the ball popped out.
Earlier this morning, on-field umpire Billy Doctrove was taken indisposed after he complained of some illness. Third umpire Amish Saheba took his place on the field, and got right into action as he made a brilliant decision when Dhoni caught Misbah, with the ball coming off his arm.
India looked lethargic on the field, the buzz around the bat was clearly lacking and totally short of a game plan. Zaheer Khan looked impressive for a while, but fizzled out as his spell came to an end. Pakistan’s strategy seems to be oriented around playing out time and force India to score quickly in their second innings, which could help them save the Test match with ease.