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Misbah bail out Pakistan, test headed for draw

Kolkata, Dec 3 (UNI) India reached 141 for two in their second innings, after Misbah-ul-Haq's phenomenal unconquered 161 only bailed Pakistan out on the fourth day of the second Test helping them clock 456 in reply to India's 616 for five declared in the first innings, but also effectively robbed the tie of yielding any result at the Eden Gardens here.

In their second innings, India were 141 for two at stumps with M S Dhoni batting on 28 and Sourav Ganguly on 24, taking their overall lead to 301.

But the man of the day was undoubtedly Misbah-ul-Haq.

Returning after eight years of cricketing wilderness, he is a transformed man.

Misbah, who remained unbeaten on 161, was a picture of concentration, playing perhaps the innings of his life. He middled every delivery and a six kneeling on one knee will remain a signature shot of the day. At 141, Misbah continued from where he had left in Delhi, at once appearing to be Pakistan's most sensible and best batsman. Spurred on by Sami's dare-devilry, he took calculated risks before lunch, lofting Anil Kumble over midwicket, slog-sweeping Zaheer Khan and flashing through slips.

His innings was studded with 13 boundaries and a six. Misbah completed his 150 off 321 balls.

If Misbah effectively pushed the match towards a draw, Harbhajan's brilliance brought about some life into the match.

But of course after Laxman proved his genius with the ball too, at Eden. Thereafter, unexpectedly refreshed, the spinners ran through the tail. Harbhajan Singh ended with a deserved five-wicket haul, leaving Misbah unconquered on a magnificent 161. Within six overs and eight runs, the tail was gone and India's chances of a win were alive again.

India began their second innings on a positive note scoring at four runs an over. Dinesh Karthik was the first to fall today, caught by Misbah at square leg trying a wild swipe off Danish Kaneria. He scored a quick 28 off 55 balls to take India to 75 before he got out.

Wasim Jaffer picked up the thread of consistency from his first innings and displayed an array of delightful boundaries, that included a couple of cover drives and pulls over midwicket, before being bowled by Kaneria for 56 (8X4) off 75 balls trying to push the scoreboard.

The fact that the Indians were trying to push for a result was evident by the fact that Ms Dhoni came in first down and Ganguly followed next. They had the obvious orders of charging the Pakistan attack.

Though Dhoni found it a tad difficult to cut loose, Ganguly was as smooth as knife through butter. He negotiated Akhtar's short-pitched stuff for singles and twos, before dispatching him to the fence with utter disdain. Both had hit three boundaries between themselves, scoring 46 runs consuming 89 balls.


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Story first published: Monday, December 3, 2007, 18:24 [IST]
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