Afridi and Younis set up a thriller at Bangalore
by AFP

Ground:M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Danish Kaneria
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 27th March 2005


A blistering half-century from opener Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan's solid 84 not out allowed Pakistan to set India a challenging 383-run target in the third and final Test.


Afridi (58) completed his fifty off just 26 deliveries, the quickest by a Pakistani batsman and the second-fastest in Test cricket, as the tourists declared their second innings on 261-2 here on Sunday.


India were 25 for no loss at stumps on the fourth day, with Gautam Gambhir (19) and Virender Sehwag (six) at the crease. They now need 358 in a minimum of 90 overs on what promises to be an exciting final day.


Younis was 16 short of becoming the first Pakistani batsman to crack a double-century and a hundred in the same Test when Pakistan declared their innings. He scored 267 in the first innings.


Pakistan, trailing 1-0 after their defeat in the second Test at Calcutta, had to go for a win by putting quick runs on the board.


They found the right man in Afridi, who smashed two sixes and eight fours in his 34-ball knock to give his team with an explosive start.


Yasir Hameed scored a responsible 76 for his seventh Test half-century and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq an unbeaten 31.


Afridi equalled Englishman Ian Botham's record for the second-fastest Test fifty (v India in 1981-82). But he missed by two balls the world record of a 24-ball half-century set by South African Jacques Kallis against Zimbabwe at home last month.


Afridi broke compatriot Yousuf Youhana's feat of a 27-ball fifty (v South Africa in 2002) when he swung Anil Kumble for his second six, the ball hitting Irfan Pathan's hands at long-leg before going over the boundary.


The Pakistani opener, who holds the world record for the fastest century in one-dayers (off 37 balls against Sri Lanka in 1997), was in punishing mood as he pulled paceman Pathan for a six and then two fours in an over.


Part-time bowler Sachin Tendulkar replaced Pathan, who conceded 45 in his opening five overs. He managed to contain Afridi in his first over with leg-breaks before having him stumped in the second.


But Afridi had done his job, putting on 91 for the opening wicket with Hameed off just 12.4 overs.


Afridi's blitz forced India to go on the back foot. Both Tendulkar and leg-spinner Kumble bowled a defensive line around the wicket, but Pakistan still managed to score briskly.


Afridi also excelled as a leg-spinner when he broke a stubborn 53-run stand for India's last wicket between Venkatsai Laxman (79 not out) and Kumble (22).


Resuming on 379-6, India were bowled out for 449 in their first innings in reply to Pakistan's 570.


Pakistan looked set to wrap up the Indian tail when they captured three wickets in the space of 10 runs, but Kumble gave Laxman valuable support.


Afridi ended the innings when he bowled Kumble with a faster one in his opening over.


Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria grabbed two of the four wickets to fall on Sunday to finish with 5-127, his 10th haul of five or more wickets in an innings in 26 Tests.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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