India poised for the kill as Balaji and Kumble strike
by AFP

Ground:Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:L Balaji, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, A Kumble
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 11th March 2005


Fast bowler Laxmipathy Balaji and spinner Anil Kumble shared five wickets as India exposed Pakistan's batting limitations to move closer to winning the opening Test here.


Pakistan had few in-form batsmen against a full-strength Indian attack as they reached 257-6 at stumps on the fourth day after trailing by 204 runs.


Skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq (86), Yousuf Youhana (68) and Asim Kamal (48) offered stiff resistance, but their efforts were still not good enough to steer their team to safety on Friday.


India look set to wrap up the match on the fifth and final day on Saturday for a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series as Pakistan are just 53 runs ahead with four wickets in hand.


All-rounder Abdul Razzaq was batting on 22 with Kamran Akmal (nine).


Balaji, out of Test cricket for nearly a year due to an abdomen injury, made an impressive comeback, finishing with 3-67 following his maiden five-wicket haul in the first innings.


Veteran leg-spinner Kumble claimed the prize wickets of Inzamam and Youhana just when it looked the Pakistani batsmen would pull their team out of trouble.


Kumble also came close to getting the wicket of Kamal, who was dropped on zero and two by Rahul Dravid at lone slip. Kamal then smashed Kumble for four successive fours before becoming Balaji's third victim.


India were earlier all out for 516 in their first innings in reply to Pakistan's 312.


Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was the most impressive Pakistani bowler as he finished with 6-150, his morning spell reading 6.4-1-29-4.


Inzamam led from the front, following his solid 57 in the first innings with a fluent half-century in the second to help his team avoid the humiliation of an innings defeat. Pakistan were tottering at 10-3 in 4.1 overs at one stage.


Pakistan were in a spot after their top order crumbled for the second successive time in the match as three wickets fell early.


Pakistan's batting problems stemmed from their fragile top order, with Salman Butt, Taufeeq Umar and Younis Khan falling to reach double-figures.


Younis was bowled shouldering arms in Balaji's second over and Butt was caught behind ducking into an Irfan Pathan bouncer, the ball hitting the bottom of the bat on way to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik.


Inzamam prevented an innings defeat by adding 139 for the fourth wicket with Youhana. He hit one six and 10 fours and looked set for a hundred.


The Pakistani captain had been looking dangerous when he was trapped leg-before by Kumble in the penultimate over before tea.


Kumble continued to keep pressure with his bounce and variations, dismissing Youhana after the break to make sure India did not have to chase a big target on the final day.


Youhana struck 12 fours in his 22nd Test half-century before running out of luck, the ball hitting the bat and then pad before rolling on to the stumps.


India added 69 to their overnight total of 447-6, with Venkatsai Laxman scoring 58 for his 21st Test half-century and Balaji a 36-ball 31.


Kaneria took all the four Indian wickets to fall in the morning to complete his ninth haul of five or more scalps in a Test innings.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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