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Batsmen's rule leaves Faisalabad Test heading for a draw
by AFP


Ground:Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad
Scorecard:Pakistan v India
Event:India in Pakistan 2005/06

The second cricket Test between Pakistan and India moved towards a tame draw on Tuesday as the bat continued to dominate the ball on a heartbreaking pitch for bowlers.

Younis Khan (64) and Kamran Akmal (59) carried Pakistan to 152-1 at stumps on the fourth day, a lead of 137 and with little to play for on the fifth and final day on Wednesday.

India scored 603 in their first innings to gain a slender 15-run lead over Pakistan's 588 on a day when bowlers toiled in search of wickets for the second successive Test in the series.

The high-scoring first Test ended in a draw in Lahore. The final Test starts in Karachi on Sunday.

For India, Mahendra Dhoni (148) and Irfan Pathan (90) dashed Pakistan's hopes of gaining a first-innings lead. The hosts could not contain the Indians on the easy-paced pitch.

The pair carried their overnight sixth wicket stand to 210 before tail-enders Harbhajan Singh (38) and Zaheer Khan (20) gave the tourists the first-innings lead.

"I am obviously delighted at my first Test century and my best knock till now," said Dhoni.

"The wicket was flat but it was not easy to bat out there with Shoaib Akhtar bowling so well. It will give me confidence for the future.

"It seems this game with be drawn, so I am looking to give another good performance in Karachi."

Younis, who scored 83 in the first innings, and Akmal put on 100 for the unfinished second wicket to ensure Pakistan did not collapse after losing Salman Butt (24) early in the post-lunch session.

Akmal and Butt gave Pakistan a brisk start of 52 before Butt miscued an on-drive off leg-spinner Anil Kumble and was caught by Sachin Tendulkar at mid-wicket.

But the early setback did not deter Pakistan, who are two batsmen short because captain Inzamam-ul Haq is nursing a back injury and Shoaib Malik is away in Sialkot to attend to his ailing father.

The Pakistan team management said both batsmen might be called in if required.

Younis has so far hit eleven boundaries during his 13th Test half-century while Akmal compiled 10 boundaries in his second Test fifty.

The Indian batsmen dominated the morning session, scoring runs at a brisk pace.

Dhoni, 116 overnight, hit Akhtar out of the attack with four boundaries in the sixth over of the day.

Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria finally provided the breakthrough when he had Dhoni stumped with a well-disguised delivery, ending the home team's long wait for a wicket after having reduced India to 281-5 in the post-lunch session on Monday.

Dhoni hit 19 fours and four sixes during his 152-ball knock which pulled India out of trouble.

Pathan, who hit 93 against Sri Lanka in New Delhi last year, added another 38 for the seventh wicket with Kumble (15) before he was trapped leg-before by Abdul Razzaq 10 runs short of his maiden hundred.

Pathan hit nine boundaries and two sixes during his 270-minute stay at the crease.

Kaneria then forced Kumble out of his crease for wicket-keeper Akmal to bring about another stumping. The leg-spinner claimed 3-165.

Harbhajan hit five boundaries and two towering sixes to take India past Pakistan's total before leg-spinner Shahid Afridi took the last two wickets to finish with 2-91.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP) spacer

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