RAWALPINDI: Leg-spinner Anil Kumble grabbed four quick wickets yesterday, bowling India to an historic maiden Test series win on Pakistani soil, their first in six attempts.
It was India’s first series win against Pakistan since 1979-80. The victory margin, an innings and 131 runs, was their biggest against Pakistan, beating the innings and 70-run win in their inaugural Test at New Delhi in 1952.
Seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji did the initial damage yesterday, dismissing Kamran Akmal (23) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (9) to set the tone for India’s first overseas series win since beating Sri Lanka 10 years ago.
Left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra added the scalp of Yasir Hameed (20), superbly caught behind down the leg-side by a diving Parthiv Patel.
Kumble then grabbed four wickets, including Yousuf Youhana for a resilient 48 and Shoaib Akhtar for a 14-ball 28, before Sachin Tendulkar finished things off, dismissing last-man Danish Kaneria to bowl out the hosts for 245.
Left-hander Asim Kamal was left stranded on a fighting 60.
India, on their first full tour of Pakistan soil in more than 14 years, had won the first Multan Test by an innings and 52 runs but the hosts hit back with a nine-wicket win at Lahore.
The series was seen as a symbol of thawing relations between the two south Asian neighbours, who have fought three wars against each other since independence from Britain in 1947.
“It’s a special moment for us,” Indian captain Saurav Ganguly said.
“It’s a very big win, coming against Pakistan. It’ll take a few days to sink in. We’ve been playing good cricket for the last two years, it’s great to win when you’re playing well.”
The victory was Ganguly’s 15th as captain, making him India’s most successful Test skipper surpassing Mohammad Azharuddin’s 14 wins.
Pakistan, resuming on their overnight 49 for two chasing 376 to make India bat again, enjoyed a spate of lucky breaks earlier yesterday.
Hameed was dropped on eight at point by Tendulkar, who could not hold on to a tough chance to his left.
He got another life on 13 when Kumble put him down at gully off left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan.
Danger man Inzamam was dropped on eight by Rahul Dravid at first slip, the ball popping out of his hands, before Balaji had the skipper caught behind with a late outswinger.
Youhana also got a chance when Yuvraj Singh could not hold on to a sharp catch at point.
But India still had little to complain about as their seamers made good use of overcast conditions to move the ball both ways.
Youhana and left-hander Asim Kamal attempted to stem the tide in a breezy 81-run sixth-wicket stand before Youhana lobbed a simple return catch to Kumble.
There were doubts if Kamal would bat after he was hit on his right elbow by a ferocious pull from Ganguly on Wednesday, but the 26-year-old showed great resolve.
Shoaib played an attractive cameo but, by then, it was only a matter of time. – Reuters