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Jaffer hits maiden ton against Pakistan to propel India past 200

Kolkata, Nov 30 (UNI) Wasim Jaffer hit his maiden ton against Pakistan as India eased to 206 for the loss of two wickets at tea on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan at the Eden Gardens here today.

At tea Jaffer was batting on 124 and Sachin Tendulkar was on 26 in an unbroken partnership of 68 as India went past 200 losing just two wickets.

The highlight of the first two sessions was openeing batsman Wasim Jaffer, who looked in phenomenal touch since morning. Jaffer is one of the most stylish right-hand opener that India has ever had and he played with cautious aggression reaching 65 at lunch.

His 50 came off just 64 balls as he drove Sohail Tanvir down the ground and then backed it with an elegant square-cut. His innings was one of raw stroke-play milled with delicate batting, an affair to remember between the willow and leather.

Jaffer's 100 also came in quick time off just 150 balls that was decked with 18 boundaries and more importantly a focused determination that was lacking earlier. This was also his fifth test century from 24 outing in the longer version of the game.

He and Rahul Dravid put on 136 runs for the second wicket, before Dravid fell for 50 to a howler of a decision from West Indian Billy Doctrove. If Koertzon came to Kolkata from Australia after wrongly giving Kumar Sangakara out and apologising, Dravid owes one from Doctrove.

He was given out caught behind off Danish Kaneria when replays showed his bat was no where near the cherry. Dravid looked in his Eden touch, that has seen him mammoth totals here. The former skipper with an unbeaten 35 at lunch raised visions of another vintage innings hand-picked from the annals of cricket history as he flicked the balls of his pads and mixed them with elegant drives.

A square drive off Mohammed Sami and a flick off Danish Kaneria were to be remembered forever.

The 100 of the Indian innings came of just 25.3 overs with Jaffer looking a picture of confidence and Dravid, ''The Wall'' as ever, and they both built the innings brick by brick as they reached their century partnership off 153 balls with the former notching up another boundary of his legs.

Sachin Tendulkar walked in at the fall of Dravid and the duo immediately set off culling runs at ease as a spineless Pakistan attack lived more on hope of Indian batsmen making mistakes rather than their wicket taking capability.

Tendulkar and Jaffer completed their 50-run partnership in just 60 balls, as the 'Little Master' quickly moved on to 26 and thus completing 1000 runs against Pakistan in 18 tests in his chequered career.

Earlier, India made a confident start reaching 104 for one at lunch after Sohail Tanvir removed opener Dinesh Karthik with his first delivery on the opening day of the second Test at the Eden Gardens here today.

An unchanged India won the toss and elected to bat, even as Pakistan was forced to drop injured skipper Shoaib Malik for rookie Faisal Iqbal. Mohammed Sami, Shoaib Akhtar and Misbah-ul-Haq all were drafted to the side having sufficiently recovered from their viral fever. Vice-captain Younis Khan stepped in as the stand-in skipper hoping to repeat his 2006 Karachi feat.

At lunch India were 104 for one from 27 overs with Jaffer unbeaten on 65 (11X4) and Dravid undefeated on 35 (8X4).

The script unfolded as expected as Indian skipper Anil Kumble won the toss and chose to bat. Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik walked out into the middle, but Karthik's poor form continued to hurt him like a nail from an old shoe. His score of one will hurt him, especially at a venue where he had established himself as someone who dared to graft it out in Test matches.

The 22-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman played away from his body.

His front foot was rooted right in the crease, giving a healthy edge on the first delivery of Sohail Tanvir to stand-in skipper Younis Khan to the joy of the entire Green Brigade.

There was a definite reason to celebrate as there was no ghost in the pitch, no uneven bounce. Besides, the Pakistan bowling also attack looked quite toothless. While Shoaib Akhtar confined himself to the fine-leg boundary after a four over spell, Mohammed Sami looked unfit. Tanvir tried to exploit the morning conditions of Eden and was quite nippy, but that's it.


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Story first published: Friday, November 30, 2007, 15:19 [IST]
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