The Sweet Taste of Victory for India

_44261296_sachin203.jpgThe roller coaster ride that was the first test match between

India and

Pakistan in the Indian Oil Test Series finally came to an end, at the close of the fourth day’s play.

India chasing 204 for victory, with 171 runs on the board for the loss of 3 wickets began the fifth day, poised to win.

India breezed to victory, 6 overs and 2 balls into the morning session of the 5th day Tendulkar, who was at 32 overnight; reached an attractive 46th fifty by smashing the Pakistani bowlers left right and center. It seemed as if he was punishing them for getting him out with a silly run out during

India’s 1st innings.

India performed well in the test match but the match was much closer than it seems. Every session of the match turned the advantage over to the other side.

Pakistan started the match by winning the toss and electing to bat first. But they got sourly surprised when Indian bowlers reduced them to 142 runs at the loss of 8 wickets by the end of tea, on day one. However, Pakistani batsman Misbah played a solid knock of 82 with tail ender Sami to take

Pakistan out of doldrums, to a respectable total of 231 runs. Day 2 of the test match saw a game of see-saw between the two teams. Although

India wrapped the Pakistani tail enders early in the morning session, they soon found themselves at 88 runs having suffered the loss of 4 very important wickets. The first to go was opener Dineesh Karthik to a beauty by pacer Shoaib Akhtar. The trio of Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly too failed to do anything spectacular. A dream spell by Pakistani medium pacer S. Tanvir sent both Dravid and Ganguly back to the dressing room . Shock was etched across both their faces when they saw their wickets flying in the air, literally. Dhoni and Laxman came to the rescue of

India pushing the total to 228 by the end of the day’s play with Laxman scoring a well crafted half century. Dhoni of all the batsmen seemed to play sensibly and scored a brilliant 57 under pressure. But by the end of the day Dhoni was back in the pavilion and

India were down to their last 4 wickets. Day 3 was trickier. The Indian tail was wrapped up quickly by the Pakistani bowlers.

India could barely manage a lead of 45 runs. Pakistani openers did well to give

Pakistan a good start but it was Kumble who struck first for

India, picking up the wicket of Hammed. That wicket snow balled into

Pakistan’s collapse. Kumble then led one of the most disciplined spin bowling attacks with Harbhajan and restricted

Pakistan to a lead of 167 runs with a loss of 5 wickets. The match was still nicely poised. Then the sun rose on day four finally throwing some light on the winner.

Pakistan scored 247 runs before the Indians got them all out.

India required 203 runs to win the 1st test match. The only thing that could have saved

Pakistan at this stage was wickets. Akhtar was the 1st to strike and picked up the wicket of Karthik. Then Dravid and Jaffer played steadily to put

India on a safer track. Jaffer having scored a classy 53, fell to Akhtar, after lunch . Dravid was soon to follow after scoring 34 runs, he too got out to Akhtar. Tendulkar and Ganguly however stood ground and took the Indian ship closer to victory. By the end of the day’s play with Ganguly on a comfortable 48,

India could smell the sweet scent of victory, being just 32 runs away from the target. Day 5 was just a matter of formalities. But still it saw a final dance of fate when Ganguly got out for 48 during the 2nd over of the day yet again to Akhtar. Then Tendulkar took charge and the rest as they say is history. Both teams played well. But for me

Pakistan had lost the match the moment it elected to bat 1st after winning the toss. The pitch was perfect for the

Pakistan pace battery to inflict all the damage in the world to any batting side. At the same point of time, taking no credit away from the Indians they played well, by forming partnerships and taking wickets during crunch times. Kumble was adjudged the Man of the Match for taking 7 wickets in the match, 4 wickets for 38 runs in the 1st innings and 3 for 68 in the 2nd innings. Sachin became the second-highest scorer in Tests with 11,207 runs and a record 37 centuries. Retired

West Indies captain Brian Lara leads with 11,953. Team

India seems to have brought in its ODI form into the Test matches. That’s the way to go Team

India, that’s the way to go!! Vijay Krishna