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India Clobber Hosts to Create History

by Nimish Dubey

India won an ODI series in Pakistan for the first time when they defeated the hosts by 40 runs in the final match of the five match series.

A few eyebrows were raised when Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq elected to bowl after winning the toss yet again. In retrospect, it was not really a surprising decision, as Inzamam seems to alternate between batting and bowling in every match. He elected to bowl in Karachi, bat at Rawalpindi, bowl at Peshawar, bat in the first match at Lahore and bowl in the second match at the same venue. Weird logic, and it probably cost his team the match and the series.

The Pakistani bowlers let down their captain for the nth time in the series and although they bowled fewer wides and no-balls than in earlier matches, they did not look too penetrative either. VVS Laxman seized the opportunity to get into some form and blazed away to a glorious hundred with some useful support from skipper Sourav Ganguly and the lower middle order. And when Balaji and Pathan tore into Pakistan's much-vaunted pace attack at the death to take India to 293-7, Inzamam might have sensed that it was not to be his day.

India had proved that 294 was gettable on Sunday. Unfortunately, Pakistan did not possess their neighbour's batting strength. To add to their woes, Irfan Pathan seemed to be in a demonic mood. The teenager ripped through the Pakistani top order, leaving the hosts reeling at 58-4 within 13 overs. And when Sachin Tendulkar held on to an amazing catch at the long-on boundary to send Inzamam-ul-Haq packing with more than 200 runs needed for victory at almost seven runs an over, Pakistan had as much chance of winning as an ice cube had of surviving in a blast furnace. Moin Khan and Shoaib Malik did put up some spirited resistance, but in the end the asking rate proved too much.

India emerged winners by 40 runs and deservedly took the series 3-2, having been much the better team in the last two games.

Now that the one-day series is over, it is time to turn our attention to the Test matches. Do you think India will repeat its one-day success in the longer version of the game? Will Pakistan change tactics for the Tests? Share your thoughts with us at Discussion Forum
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The scoreboard:

Venue: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Toss: Pakistan, elected to bowl.
Umpires: David Shedherd and Nadeem Ghauri
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle
Result: India won by 40 runs
Man of the Match: VVS Laxman
Man of the Series: Inzamam-ul-Haq
Series score: India win series 3-2
India (293 for 7 wickets in 50 overs)
V Sehwag c M Khan b Ahmed 20(22)
(Tried to drive, edged the ball to the keeper)

S Tendulkar c M Khan b Sami 37(48)
(Tried to run ball down to third man, but got an edge)

VVS Laxman c Sami b Malik 107(104)
(Tried to clear the field, was caught at extra cover)

S Ganguly c M Khan b Akhtar 45(64)
(Tried to steer the ball to the off side, edged to the keeper)

R Dravid b Sami 4(10)
(Missed an in-cutter, ball went between bat and pad)

Y Singh c Inzamam b Ahmed
(Mistimed stroke on on-side, ball looped to square leg)

M Kaif c Umar b Sami 16(20)
(Tried to hit a straight six, caught at long off)

I Pathan not out 20(12)

L Balaji not out 10(6)

Did not bat: Z Khan, M Kartik

Extras (2 byes, 4 leg byes, 5 wides, 5 no-balls) 16
Fall of wickets: 1-34(Sehwag, 6 overs), 2-79 (Tendulkar, 14.1 overs), 3- 171(Ganguly, 32.3 overs), 4- 183(Dravid, 36.1 overs), 5- 227(Y Singh, 42.1 overs), 6-255 (Laxman, 45.5 overs), 7-276 (Kaif, 48.3 overs)
Batting landmarks:
50 in 8 overs; 100 in 18.4 overs; 150 in 27.5 overs; 200 in 38.3 overs; 250 in 45.2 overs
Bowling:(read figures as 'overs-maidens-runs-wickets')
S Akhtar 10-1-47-1; S Ahmed 10-1-56-2; M Sami 10-1-63-3; A Razzaq 10-0-54-0; S Malik 10-0-67-1
Pakistan (253 in 47.5 overs)
Y Hameed b Balaji 2(5)
(Played all over an in-cutter)

T Umar b Pathan 18(17)
(Played down the wrong line, had his leg stump knocked over)

Y Youhana lbw b Pathan 1(7)
(A bit unlucky to be given out, seemed to have edged an in-cutter on to his pads)

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Tendulkar b Kartik 38(51)
(Tried to clear long on, Tendulkar took a stunning catch on the boundary)

Y Khan c Y Singh b Pathan 12(20)
(Attempted a square drive, well held by the fielder at point)

S Malik c Kaif b Sehwag 65(89)
(Went for a big hit over mid-wicket, found the fielder)

A Razzaq c Sehwag b Balaji 5(9)
(Hit a full blooded drive straight to mid-off)

M Khan b Balaji 72(71)
(Tried a big hit, missed a straight delivery)

M Sami b Khan 23(17)
Tried to make space for a big hit, connected air)

S Akhtar run out 2(2)
(Tried to take a sharp single but ducked out of the way of Yuvraj's throw and ran himself out)

S Ahmed not out 1(2)
Extras (2 byes, 5 leg byes, 4 wides, 3 no balls) 14
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Hameed, 1.4 overs), 2-9(Youhana, 2.5 overs), 3-25(Umar, 6.1 overs), 4-58(Y Khan, 12.1 overs), 5-87(Inzamam, 20.4 overs), 6-96(Razzaq, 24 overs), 7-195(Malik, 40.5 overs), 8-248(Sami, 46.3 overs), 9-250(Akhtar, 46.5 overs)
Batting landmarks:
50 in 11.1 overs; 100 in 25.3 overs; 150 in 34.2 overs; 200 in 41.2 overs; 250 in 46.4 overs
Bowling:(read figures as 'overs-maidens-runs-wickets')
I Pathan 10-1-32-3; L Balaji 9.5-0-62-3; Z Khan 9-0-54-1; M Kartik 10-0-42-1; S Tendulkar 5-0-27-0; V Sehwag 4-0-29-1
Highlights: Indian innings

*Inzamam won the toss for the fifth match on the trot. For the sake of variety, he decided to field first. Of course, it is more likely that he wanted to avoid fielding in the evening when the dew makes gripping the ball next to impossible.
*While India made no changes to the team that won at Lahore on Sunday, Pakistan decided to wave Afridi goodbye and brought in Taufiq Umar.
*The ninth and tenth overs of the innings were maidens. This was the first time successive maidens were bowled in the series!
*Inzamam's strange tendency of not keeping a fielder in the slips once again proved expensive, with a number of edges flying through the vacant slip area.
*It was not a dream return to the team for Taufiq Umar. At least not in the field. He put down Laxman in the 28th over when he had made 52 and to make matters worse, the ball went for four. He then proceeded to drop Pathan in the 48th over! When he finally held on to the catch offered by Kaif an over later, his sigh of relief could almost be heard over the roar of the crowd!
* This was VVS Laxman's first century against Pakistan. In fact, he had not scored a hundred runs in total in all his matches against Pakistan. So he more than tripled his aggregate against Pakistan in a single innings!
* What is it about Lahore and a score of 293? Pakistan got the same score when batting first on Sunday!

Highlights: Pakistan innings
* This is the first time India have won an ODI series in Pakistan.
* The century jinx is finally over. After five India-Pakistan matches in which the player scoring a century finished on the losing side, a match was won by the team featuring the centurion.
* The Indian team lost their captain when Sourav Ganguly was stretchered off the field following an attempt to block an Inzamam drive in the 10th over. He was taken to the hospital where it was revealed that he had strained a muscle in his back. He did not return to the field and Rahul Dravid captained the side from the 10th over onwards.
* Irfan Pathan's figures of 10-1-32-3 are the best recorded by a bowler in the series, bettering Shabbir Ahmed's 10-0-33-3 at Peshawar. Mind you, Pathan was once again warned for running on to the pitch.
* Such was the control exerted by the Indian bowlers that Paklstan were unable to hit a boundary between the 16th and the 30th overs.
* The 99-run partnership between Moin Khan and Shoaib Malik is Pakistan's best for the seventh wicket against India. It did not prove to be enough.

Turning point of the match:

Some may point to Inzamam's decision to field, but for me the decisive moment of the match came when Sachin Tendulkar took a stunning catch to dismiss Inzamam-ul-Haq. Easily the best batsman of the series, Inzamam was looking dangerous once again when Tendulkar took an astounding catch inches inside the long-on boundary to send him packing. With their captain gone, Pakistan never really got back into the game, in spite of the spirited effort made by Moin Khan and Shoaib Malik.

Our man of the match:

VVS Laxman may have got three figures, but I have always believed that it is bowlers who win matches. So my vote goes to Irfan Pathan who not only came up with the best bowling figures for the series, but whose unbeaten 20 off 12 balls ensured that India got within striking distance of 300.

Lighter moment of the match:

* VVS Laxman may be one of the most elegant batsmen in world cricket but he remains an absolute nightmare between the wickets. Yuvraj got a taste of this eccentricity when Laxman suddenly took off for a sharp single. Nothing wrong in that, except that Laxman had not bothered to make a call. Both batsmen almost finished at the same end and a run out was only miraculously avoided. Yuvraj's face was a picture!
* Laxmipathy Balaji should seriously consider changing his supplier of bats. He swung lustily at a Shoaib Akhtar delivery in the final over of the match and was shocked to find himself holding only half a bat at the end of the shot. The lower part of his bat had broken at the moment of impact!

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