Crystal ball for day five
At the end of day four at Faisalabad
, Pakistan are 137 runs ahead with 9 wickets remaining. Now that 9 could actually be 7, depending on whether Inzamam and Shoaib Malik do bat or not. I suppose if Pakistan were in some real strife, like say ahead by 220 runs with 2 wickets in hand, they'd certainly come out to bat.
If day three
belonged to Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Pathan
, day four was a mixed bag. Dhoni
ended up two short of 150, Pathan ended up being dismissed in the nineties again
, Younis Khan continued to be a pain-in-the-arse for India
while Kamran Akmal showed that his rescue act at Mohali
and the centuries against England were no flukes.
So what then for tomorrow? Yesterday I didn't quite agree with Bob Woolmer's conviction
that the game would be drawn, because with two days to go, it seemed a premature announcement. But today, I think the pitch can safely be taken out of the equation because it has misbehaved even less than a petulant child would. Barring a brain explosion from either team, this game should end in a draw.
I see things panning out this way: Pakistan bat cautiously initially. Afridi hasn't been unleashed yet even though one wicket has fallen. He comes in to bat halfway through the first session and after respectfully blocking a few balls, cuts loose. Pakistan score nearly 150 runs in the first session, at over four runs an over. They're seven down when the declaration comes with a handful of overs to go before lunch, leaving India around 300 to get in nearly four hours at around five an over. Virender Sehwag, marginally rectifies his abysmal second innings record
, but failures from Dravid and Laxman leave India on the edge yet again. Tendulkar and Yuvraj salvage some lost repuations by combining to restore the balance and India end up around 100 short when the stumps are drawn.