Day 4: India strike early

The Indian team is tantalizingly close to making history in Pakistan.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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India struck early on day four, as Balaji clean bowled the night watchman Kamran Akmal in the third over of the day. Nehra had Hameed caught behind in the second ball of his very first over. Overnight batsmen Yasir Hameed and Kamran Akmal resumed the fourth day's proceedings for Pakistan. Akmal scored three consecutive boundaries off Lakshmipathy Balaji's first over. But the lanky seamer claimed his revenge when he clean bowled the Pak wicket keeper in his next over, leaving Pakistan reeling at 64 for 3, still trailing by over 300 runs. Hameed (20) was undone by an in-swinger from Nehra, as he edged it to the keeper. Pakistan is struggling at 92 for four. Fielders let down But India would have been in a more commanding position if the fielders had held on to the catches in the first hour of play. Close-in fielders put down as many as five catches in the first half hour of the day, much to the relief of Yasir Hameed and Inzamam. Lakshman floored a chance in the very first over of the morning. Hameed was let off atleast thrice, as Tendulkar could not hold on to a blinder at gully and Yuvraj juggled in vain at short leg. Kumble couldn’t reach one at point. The Pakistan skipper had his share of luck too, as the usually cool Dravid dropped a sitter in the slips, off Balaji. India on the verge of victory The Indian team is tantalizingly close to making history in Pakistan. And the entire country is set to follow Friday's action closely when the team goes all out to beat Pakistan 2-1 and clinch the series. Indians had an excellent third day as vice captain Rahul Dravid blasted his fifth Test double hundred and India amassed a huge first innings lead of 376 runs. Indian seamers picked up two quick Pakistani wickets reducing the hosts to 49 for 2 at stumps on the third day. First to go was Imran Farhat, as he edged a delivery from Lakshmipathy Balaji to Virender Sehwag. Then Irfan Pathan struck, claiming the other opener, Taufiq Umar leg before. 'The Wall' powers India Earlier, Dravid 'The Wall' Dravid notched up the highest score of his Test career as India strengthened its grip over the third and final test against Pakistan today. Dravid hit a career-best 270 and powered India to 600 in the first innings, and a lead of 376 runs over the hosts. The Indian vice captain was a picture of concentration, cutting and pulling the Pakistani bowlers at will, during his knock which lasted nearly 12 hours. His double ton included 34 hits to the boundary. Dravid has become the only Indian batsman to score five Test double centuries, and the fourth Indian to score a double ton against Pakistan after Virender Sehwag, Sanjay Manjrekar and Anshuman Gaekwad. Sheet anchor In fact Dravid was the anchor around which India built its innings, frustrating the Pakistani bowlers with some solid batting. After crucial partnerships with Parthiv Patel and VVS Laxman on day two, Dravid shared two important partnerships on day three as well. He put on 131 runs for the fifth wicket with skipper Ganguly and was involved in a 98-run sixth wicket partnership with Yuvraj Singh. Elementary mistake Skipper Ganguly, however, was run out ffor 77, when he failed to ground his bat after completing a quick single. Imran Nazir's direct throw from the point region shattered the stumps at the non-strikers end while the Indian skipper's bat was still in air. Yuvraj Singh who replaced his skipper at the crease scored 47 runs before he was out leg before to Mohammad Sami. Danish Kaneria then claimed two wickets, ripping apart the Indian lower order. First Kaneria claimed Irfan Pathan, caught by Fazl-e-Akbar, and then Anil Kumble was stumped by Kamran Akmal. Rahul Dravid then fell, while attempting a reverse sweep against Imran Farhat. Lakshmipathy Balaji slammed a valuable six and a four, taking India to 600. But he was caught while trying to hit Farhat a second time. (With PTI inputs)