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    March 14, 2005

    Kamran and Razzaq defy India with help from bowlers and pitch

    A superb display of attacking batting from Kamran Akmal and defensive batting from an unusually sober Abdur Razzaq helped Pakistan draw the first test at Mohali. Given that they resumed just 53 runs in front of India with four wickets in hand, it was a sensational achievement. On a fifth day wicket, India's bowlers could not take the remaining four wickets and Inzamam rubbed India's noses further in the dust by declaring, setting India a task of getting nearly 14 runs per over to win. Obviously India didnt get anywhere near it. The draw was the first one between these two teams after 7 consecutive games ending in a result.

    Akmal and Razzaq played the "good cop, bad cop" routine to perfection. While Akmal's century came off only 140 balls, Razzaq replayed his go-slow at the MCG last year for Indian audiences, with far better results though.

    The only two Indian bowlers who had anything to smile about on the fifth day were Kumble, who got his 450th test wicket, and Balaji, who would have been smiling anyway and was the only bowler to emerge with credit (nine wickets for the match). With the exception of Balaji, the other bowlers were terribly disappointing, especially Zaheer and Pathan who were unable to even consistently bowl on a set-piece line and length so that the runs dried up. It wasnt to be. Pakistan scored at nearly 3.5 runs per over on the final day and they were the ones trying to sneak in to Calcutta with a draw. India, in contrast on the third day, scored at just over two an over after Sehwag got out.

    For all the talk of Mohali being amongst India's best pitches, the numbers dont quite back up that claim. Four out of the six games have been draws and the pitch has become great to bat on even on the fifth day, as we saw a couple of years ago when New Zealand were here. Clearly the need of the hour is for six day tests to be scheduled at Mohali to ensure that we do get a result. I admire Bindra's vision but someone somewhere else doesnt really think the pitches are that important. Hey wait, did I say six day test? I think Mohali should host the ICC Super Series in that case!
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 12:25 PM |
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