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The Electronic Telegraph India v Pakistan, 2nd Test
Reports from the Electronic Telegraph - 4-7 February 1999

Day 1: Saqlain's spin blitz hands the initiative to Pakistan

By Peter Deeley in Delhi

IT may have been a snake-free day but the Pakistan spinners once more produced their particular brand of venom to leave India in a vulnerable position.

Saqlain Mushtaq is proving a real handful for batsmen who are supposedly some of the best players of spin in the world and took another five wickets on this opening day of the second Test to go with his 10 in the Madras game.

Mushtaq Ahmed had to wait until his 23rd over to gain his first reward but followed this up in the next with the vital wicket of India's captain Mohammad Azharuddin, the backbone of his side's resistance for more than 2.5 hours, caught at slip from a ball that bounced unexpectedly.

All the pre-match talk was about Sachin Tendulkar and what it would mean for India if his muscle problem prevented him playing. He came in at 113 for two with the benefit of the solid start the openers had given, lasted 11 overs and was leg before to Saqlain to one flighted on leg stump which the batsman seemed to misjudge and fall into. Tendulkar has now been dismissed by the off-spinner in the last three innings.

That silenced the crowd, which did not show the warmth the Pakistanis enjoyed in Madras. The characterless features of the Ferozeshah Kotla ground do not lend themselves to a good atmosphere and the 15,000 in the half-full stands spent much of the time jeering ``aloo'' - Hindi for potato - at Inzamam-ul-Haq in remembrance of his behaviour in a one-day game in Toronto.

They also enjoyed Saqlain being heavily floored when he was bumped by an Indian batsman taking a quick single. The truth is that the public in the Indian capital are not particularly sport-orientated.

If the snake charmers were on duty, as promised by the local police chief to prevent extremists letting loose reptiles to disrupt the play, they went untroubled.

The only slippery elements on view were the hands of the Pakistan fielders, who put down four catches in the day, otherwise India would have been in a far more parlous state.

Sadagopan Ramesh and Venkata Laxman put on their second 50 opening partnership in successive games after both survived chances off the spinners.

Then Laxman was bowled by Wasim Akram soon after lunch trying to drive and Ramesh, who reached his maiden Test half-century, threw away his wicket aiming to pull Saqlain and losing his off-stump.

The shock dismissal of Tendulkar - given out by the home umpire A V Jayaprakash - left the burden with Azharuddin. He may not be quite the player of his prime but was still able to play Saqlain late and score runs.

There was a vintage pull for six off Mushtaq, who soon afterwards put down a low return catch. But once Rahul Dravid had gone leg before to Saqlain trying to work him away there was little support left for the Indian captain.

Four wickets went down in the last eight overs for 16 runs and India finished on 247 for eight, seven of the wickets falling to the spinners. Will this be another game, like the first, of sub-300 totals?

Day 2: Singh in form to join India spin feast

By Peter Deeley in Delhi

YET another day of dominance, this time by the Indian slow bowlers, has set the home side up for the cherished prize of avenging their defeat by Pakistan a week ago and squaring the two-Test series.

Thirteen wickets fell yesterday on only the second day, evidence of the dubiety of this pitch which had to be relaid after extremists dug up the first one.

Pakistan were bowled out in 41/2 hours, leaving India 80 runs ahead on first innings and by the close, at 46 for one, they had stretched their lead to 126.

Anything beyond 200 in the fourth innings on a strip where for spinners the ball is mostly keeping low and occasionally lifting unpredictably is surely beyond almost any side.

Pakistan's batting does not suggest it has the necessary virtue of patience. There have been only two half-centuries in the game, batsmen must graft for their rewards and any attempt to hit across the line almost inevitably results in failure.

Anil Kumble's height has always helped him get bounce and his four wickets here followed his seven in Madras.

A new sight for most English eyes was the turbaned Harbhajan Singh, 19, whose off-spin, delivered with a sharp tweak of the wrist, has been the subject of scrutiny.

Singh's action was examined by the International Cricket Council, he received counselling from Fred Titmus and in his fourth Test passed muster with both umpires. He took three for 30, including the wicket of Pakistan's top scorer, Shahid Afridi.

After India had taken their total to 252, Saeed Anwar fenced at Venkatesh Prasad's late away movement in Pakistan's second over and was caught behind.

Afridi hit Kumble for two straight sixes in an over. In the next, Singh's third, he tried to swing the ball over the leg boundary and was bowled.

Three Pakistan batsmen were caught close in via bat and pad and two dismissed by balls that kept low.

Day 3: Wasim breaks record

By Peter Deeley in New Delhi

IT should have been a day of celebration for Pakistan captain Wasim Akram as he overtook his illustrious predecessor, Imran Khan, to become the highest wicket-taker in his country's history.

Instead that milestone is likely to be just the precursor to a heavy Pakistan defeat, one which allows India to salvage pride and level the two-Test series.

Neither side in these games had reached 300 in an innings until the eighth-wicket partnership of Sourav Ganguly and Javagal Srinath put on an unbroken 93.

Pakistan must now score in excess of 400 and though they have two days, the bounce is getting more and more unpredictable.

From the way they batted in the first innings the game could be over today. Salim Malik was off the field all day with a fever and his absence could prove crucial. Wasim was also feeling ill, in addition to carrying a groin strain.

Occasionally he still produces flashes of brilliance, as in the afternoon session when he forced his opposite number, Mohammad Azharuddin, to play on and brought the next ball back to trap Nayan Mongia leg before.

These two wickets gave Wasim a career haul of 363 in his 85th Test compared with Imran's 362 in 88.

Sadagopan Ramesh top-scored for India. In his second Test the left-handed opener got to 96 before being caught and bowled off a Mushtaq full toss.

Day 4: Modest Kumble earns perfect 10

By Peter Deeley in Delhi

ANIL KUMBLE became the second man in Test history to take all 10 wickets in an innings when he led India to a 212-run defeat of Pakistan here yesterday to square the two-match series.

Anil Kumble celebrates after taking the last Pakistan wicket Leg spinner Kumble, 28, was not born when off spinner Jim Laker took all 10 Australian wickets in the second innings at Old Trafford in 1956. ``I read about it,'' he said, ``but it never crossed my mind I would ever join him in the record books. I'm just lucky it happened to me.''

Kumble finished with an analysis of 10-74 for match figures of 14-149. His second and final spell read: 21.3-9-49-10. This won him the man-of-the-match award and he has taken 21 wickets in the two games. But Pakistan off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq with 20 - five in every innings took the individual series accolade.

Kumble charitably considered that Saqlain deserved the overall award. ``He bowled so well throughout that credit should go to him,'' he said.

Kumble, a naturally modest man, was equally sure that the individual game prize should have gone not to a bowler but a batsman.

``The pitch was deteriorating all the time,'' he said. His personal nomination would have been the young Indian opener Sadagopan Ramesh, for his 96 on the third day.

Over the weekend the Indian capital belatedly awoke to the prospect of a rare success against their neighbours and the atmosphere in the ground, packed to its 25,000 capacity in the last two days, has been close to bedlam.

As Kumble's tally of wickets rolled steadily on, they began chanting the numbers. Equally they were urging their players forward to India's first victory over Pakistan in 23 Tests, spanning 20 years.

The bowler said that he only began to think about the possibility of taking all 10 wickets just before tea when he dismissed Saeed Anwar, the one Pakistan batsman who looked capable of a prolonged fight.

``It was after I had taken the ninth wicket, Saqlain, that it dawned on me it could be done. I went down to third man and thought about it.

``I was on a hat-trick for the second time in the day. I had expected to bowl the next over at Waqar Younis but, as it happened, Wasim Akram was on strike.''

The Pakistan captain, one of only four men to reach double figures, had been at the crease for nearly 90 minutes. Wasim - who became Pakistan's highest-ever wicket-taker on 363 the previous day - pushed forward at the hat-trick ball but it went through harmlessly, then pushed out his front pad again at the third delivery.

This time the ball got up, flew across the face of the bat, brushed the pad and Venkata Laxman at short leg grabbed the chance.

In the pandemonium Kumble seemed almost taken aback, then remembered to snatch a stump and was chaired off the ground. ``My first reaction was thankfulness that we had won.

``It's all still a dream,'' he confessed half an hour later. ``I still can't get over it. It won't sink in until I read the papers in the morning. Basically, though, it was a team effort and I would like to dedicate this day principally to them.''

After Kumble had dismissed Saqlain, the No 10 batsman, his captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, asked Javagal Srinath at the other end to bowl outside the stumps - which he did, conceding two wides.

Azharuddin explained: ``There was no need then for Srinath to attack. We were in a position where we were obviously going to win.'' He said of Kumble: ``He was quite outstanding, tremendous. He is on cloud nine in the dressing-room.''

After Saqlain dismissed the Indian tail in the morning in under five overs to leave himself poised on a hat-trick, Pakistan faced the near impossible task of scoring 420 to win.

Anwar and Shahid Afridi took them to 101 with little trouble and it was a clear indication that the Indian spinners would hold the key when the new-ball bowlers were given one slip and a defensive field.

Kumble bowled five overs in the pre-lunch session, going for 25 runs without any hint of the drama to come. Afterwards he immediately switched to the pavilion end - where local umpire A V Jayaprakash was standing.

The teenaged Afridi quickly lost his concentration and became Kumble's first victim. Ijaz Ahmed went first ball and Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana went in the space of three deliveries.

It was virtually the end for Pakistan when Anwar was sixth out after 2.5 hours of watchfulness interspersed with a dozen immaculate boundaries.

Kumble's thoughts even in the moment of his triumph were for his fellow bowlers. ``I felt sorry for them. It was my day but there are many times when you work just to get one wicket.''

Superstition played its part. After Kumble's first wicket, Sachin Tendulkar ran across and carried his cap and sweater to the umpire. ``He said, 'That will change your luck.' He kept doing it - and it did.''

Kumble's 10 wickets

1.04pm (Kumble's ninth over, fourth of his spell): 
1: Afridi, caught behind on back foot, ball keeping low.
2: Ijaz, big stride forward, ball hits toe. Leg before.
3: Inzamam, bowled off thick inside edge.
4: Youhana, half stride across stumps. Leg before.
5: Moin, on back foot, caught low at slip off sharply turning ball.
6: Anwar, pushing forward, ball flies up off bat/pad to short leg.
7: Malik, bowled swinging across the line.
8: Mushtaq, pushing forward to ball lifting and turning sharply. Caught 
short point. Shrugs in resignation as he departs.
9: Saqlain, pushing forward, ball hits toe. Leg before.
10: Wasim, pushes forward, bat pad to short leg. (3.49pm)

Best Test Bowling

10-53 J.C.Laker (England v Australia, Old Trafford, 1956)
10-74 A.R.Kumble (India v Pakistan, Delhi, 1998-99)
9-28 G.A Lohmann (England v South Africa Johannesburg, 1895-96)
9-37 J.C.Laker (England v Australia, Old Trafford, 1956)
9-52 R.J.Hadlee (New Zealand v Australia, Brisbane, 1985-86)
9-56 Abdul Qadir (Pakistan v England, Lahore, 1987-88)
9-57 D.E.Malcolm (England v South Africa, Oval, 1994)
9-65 M.Muralitharan (Sri Lanka v England, The Oval, 1998
9-69 J.M.Patel (India v Australia, Kanpur, 1959-60)
9-83 Kapil Dev (India v West Indies, Ahmedabad, 1983-84)
9-86 Sarfraz Nawaz (Pakistan v Australia, Melbourne, 1978-79)
9-95 J.M.Noriega (West Indies v India, Port-of-Spain, 1970-71)
9-102 S.P.Gupte (India v West Indies, Kanpur, 1958-59)
9-103 S.F.Barnes (England v South Africa, Johannesburg, 1913-14)
9-113 H.J.Tayfield (South Africa v England, Johannesburg, 1956-57)
9-121 A.A.Mailey (Australia v England, Melbourne, 1920-21)

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk