Pakistan fight back on third day but India are in control at Mohali
The television cameras continuously showed Pakistan's coach Bob Woolmer
feverishly typing away at his laptop. The way the game is placed right now, it is highly likely he was drafting his resignation letter before he was asked to go the Miandad way
. In addition, it is also possible that he was making notes on the number of rounds Younis Khan and Taufeeq Umar would run around Chandigarh.
Pakistan did come back strongly on the second day. Of course, if they conceded anything less than 4 runs per over on the day, it would amount to a comeback given the happenings of day two
. India ended day three on 447/6, 135 runs ahead
. They should have ended the day around 200 runs ahead but some bizarre batting from Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman meant that the scoring rate was down to 2.89 per over today, as compared to 4.6 yesterday. Of course, you couldnt have expected a similar scoring rate today but how about scoring 300 runs in the day? That should have been possible!
Sehwag got to his ninth century with a brace to third-man and didnt let go even after that. Dravid got out shortly after he went past his fifty. Tendulkar started aggressively and then went into his shell. Sehwag and his erstwhile clone then put on a century stand scoring briskly before Sehwag got out for 173, his highest score at home. Ganguly scratched around for a while before he got out to the ever hard-working Kaneria. Laxman joined Tendulkar and after a scratchy start, gradually got into his groove. I wonder why Laxman came in at #6 with the real possibility of being left to bat with the tail when he has been out of form. Ganguly should have let Laxman bat at #5 so that it gave him an opportunity to bat with the specialist batsmen. Tendulkar then disappointed a few billion fans when he fell six short of his 35th
test century. I'm hoping he'll reserve it for a game when India desperately need those runs. Dinesh Karthik did nothing in the brief time he spent at the wicket to convince the selectors that he can bat. Dhoni and Parthiv will be very eagerly looking forward to the next squad announcement.
Pakistan's line of attack had changed today. They were willing to bang the ball in, bowl a few bouncers to keep the batsmen quiet and have them in trouble. The fields were also mainly defensive in nature, which clogged up the run-scoring, although the go-slow attitude of the out-of-form Indian batsmen cannot be excused. Inzamam would have learnt one good lesson from the events of yesterday and today: "You can move the fielders around, you cannot hide poor catchers". Pakistan's shocking fielding continued
with letoffs for just about every batsmen. With the umpires contributing their poor decisions as well, Inzamam was left to rue on what might have been.
With a lead of 135, India will hope for Laxman squeezing out 100-120 runs from the tail, which would mean Pakistan needing to make 250-odd to break even. Woolmer would be wishing he were in Wright's shoes, not his. Check out the photographs from the game