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Monday, March 28, 2005

Cricket: 3rd Test, 5th Day's Play. Pakistan Wins by 168 runs as India's Batting Collapses

India's famous batting line-up showed its vulnerability as Pakistan defeated India by 168 runs on the fifth and final day of the 3rd Test match to draw level in the three test series.

Shahid Afridi took the wickets of Sachin, Laxman, and Ganguly; Danish Kaneria chipped in with two wickets including the last wicket of Balaji, and Arshad Khan and Mohammed Sami took two apiece as a disciplined bowling performance by the Pakistanis overcame a hopeless defensive approach adopted by the Indians.

Floodgates opened with Sehwag's wicket
India started from their overnight score of 25 for no loss and both the openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir batted with ease. However things changed after Sehwag's run out for 38 runs with the score on 87.

Defensive batting by Sachin and Laxman
Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir departed in a span of a few overs, then Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman adopted a defensive strategy. Laxman is a strokeplayer and he should have played like he did in the first innings, however he too followed Sachin's defensive mode and was out LBW to Shahid Afridi after scoring only 5 runs in 29 balls.

Selectors should rethink on Ganguly's place in the team
Saurav Ganguly came to the wicket, lasted for the customary fifteen minutes and went back to the pavilion, bowled by Shahid Afridi after scoring only two runs.

Tail didn't wag except for Anil Kumble
Dinesh Karthik was bowled by Sami; Irfan who disappointed with his bowling and fielding, failed with the bat too and went for a duck after hanging on for 29 balls, Harbhajan didn't last long and was caught by Younis Khan off Danish Kaneria.

Anil Kumble remained the last man standing
Anil Kumble remained unbeaten for a fighting score of 37 runs scored off 52 balls with 7 fours. Balaji was the last man to be dismissed, out LBW to Danish Kaneria with six overs remaining for the end of the day's play, and Pakistan had won the 3rd and final Test match by 168 runs.

Defensive strategy cost India the match
Why didn't other Indian batsmen play like Anil Kumble? What has happened to Sachin's batting? Why does India always falter under pressure? There was no need to play defensive and increase the pressure. So many close in fielders and then playing maiden over after maiden over. Take a look at Shahid Afridi's bowling figures. 17-7-13-3.

Sachin should have attacked the bowling
Saurav Ganguly was expected to fail. No one had hopes on Ganguly. Laxman played defensive cricket and that cost him his wicket. Rahul Dravid somehow has never performed on his homeground, Bangalore. What about Sachin? Why did he adopt such a defensive strategy. Sachin scored 16 runs off 98 balls. He could have taken on the spinners and hit them for boundaries to scatter the close in fielders. Was it a team decision to try and save the test match by playing defensive cricket?

Saurav Ganguly hasn't performed in any match on this tour
Ganguly had a chance to play a Test match saving innings. He disappointed with his batting, like he has been doing with consistent regularity. Is Saurav Ganguly required in the team? Saurav Ganguly, on the basis of his recent batting performances, does not merit a place in India's Test team.

Heroes for Pakistan
Shahid Afridi was an unlikely bowling hero taking three wickets including those of Sachin and Laxman. Arshad Khan took the wicket of Rahul Dravid. Mohammad Sami got breakthroughs when required, and Danish Kaneria ended the innings by trapping Balaji with six overs remaining.

Brief Scores
Pakistan...1st Innings...570 all out
India....1st Innings...449 all out
Pakistan...2nd Innings...261/2 declared
India...2nd Innings...214 all out
Result: Pakistan won the 3rd Test match by 168 runs.
Man of the Match: Younis Khan of Pakistan for his 267 and 84 not out.
Series: Draw. 1-1.
1st Test was drawn in Mohali.
India won the 2nd Test in Kolkata by 195 runs.
Pakistan won the 3rd Test in Bangalore by 168 runs.

Read the Complete Scorecard of the 3rd Test match played between India and Pakistan from the 24th to 28th March in Bnagalore.
Read more on Cricinfo.

Schedule of One Day Matches in April 2005.
Apr 2...1st in Kochi (Cochin)
Apr 5...2nd in Vishakhapatnam
Apr 9...3rd in Jamshedpur
Apr 12...4th in Ahmedabad
Apr 15...5th in Kanpur
Apr 17...6th in Delhi

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