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India fight back after Pakistan run riot in second Test
by AFP


Ground:Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad
Scorecard:Pakistan v India
Player:RP Singh, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, RS Dravid, Abdul Razzaq, V Sehwag, RS Dravid, VVS Laxman, Danish Kaneria
Event:India in Pakistan 2005/06

India were waging another battle to save the second Test after Pakistan put on an impressive batting display for the second consecutive time here on Sunday.

India, needing 389 runs to save the follow-on, were 110-1 when stumps were drawn four overs early on the second day after a run feast by batsmen from both sides.

Shahid Afridi smashed a career-best 156 off 128 balls and skipper Inzamam-ul Haq hammered 119 despite a back injury to propel Pakistan to an impressive 588 in their first innings.

Indian captain Rahul Dravid (46) and Venkatsai Laxman (28) were unbeaten at the close, having put on 71 runs for the second wicket after losing in-form opener Virender Sehwag for 31.

Sehwag, who hit a majestic 254 in the high-scoring first Test in Lahore, failed to capitalise after being dropped on 12 by substitute Imran Farhat off paceman Shoaib Akhtar.

Sehwag fell off the third ball after tea as Farhat compensated for the earlier miss with a high catch at first slip off Abdul Razzaq.

The match appeared to be a replay of the drawn Lahore Test where Pakistan piled up 679-7 declared and India replied with 410 for one.

"We have to bowl extraordinarily well to force a result because there is nothing in the wicket for bowlers," Afridi told reporters later.

"Moreover the Kookaburra (Australian brand) balls get soft very early and that does not help the bowlers at all."

Pakistan, starting the day at 379-4, added 209 runs by midway through the afternoon session as Afridi entertained the 15,000-strong holiday crowd with powerful hitting.

The popular all-rounder, who scored 103 in Lahore, plundered six sixes and 20 fours before miscuing a sweep off leg-spinner Anil Kumble to be caught at square-leg by Yuvraj Singh.

Afridi, 85 overnight, hit seamer Irfan Pathan for two boundaries to move within three runs of his second successive hundred and then pulled the same bowler for a powerful six over mid-wicket to reach his fifth Test century.

Afridi took 20 runs in one over from Zaheer Khan that included three fours and a six, before smashing Kumble for a six over long-on to surpass his previous Test best of 141 against India at Chennai in 1999.

Afridi, who added 163 for the fifth wicket with Inzamam on Saturday, put on another 88 with Razzaq before Kumble dismissed him.

The leg-spinner struck again in his next over when he had another first Test centurion Kamran Akmal caught at mid-wicket without scoring.

Debutant Rudra Pratap Singh dismissed Razzaq (37) caught behind to finish with the best figures of 4-89.

Inzamam, who couldn't resume his innings in the morning due to back problems, completed his 25th Test hundred with two runs off Singh -- his third century in Faisalabad in as many innings -- after coming in at the fall of Akmal's wicket.

Inzamam, who scored a century in each innings against England here in November, batted with a runner to continue the good work of the first day where Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf hit half-centuries.

Inzamam hit 12 boundaries and a six before edging paceman Zaheer's sharp outswinger to Dhoni.

Tail-ender Akhtar hit five fours and three sixes in his quickfire career-best 47 before holing out against Zaheer who finished with 3-135.

Kumble also ended up with three wickets after bowling Danish Kaneria to wrap up Pakistan's innings.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP) spacer

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