India's world record bid fails in drawn Test
by AFP

Ground:Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Scorecard:Pakistan v India
Player:V Sehwag
Event:India in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 17th January 2006


India's openers Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid missed a world record partnership by four runs as the first cricket Test against Pakistan ended in a draw here on Tuesday.


India were 410-1 in reply to Pakistan's 679-7 declared when play was called off after just 2.2 overs on the fifth and final day at the Gaddafi stadium here.


The result was a formality after murky weather and light rain curtailed play to just 64.2 overs from the available 270 overs on the last three days of the high-scoring Test.


Sehwag and Dravid, who needed 11 runs to surpass the world record of 413 for the first wicket by fellow-countrymen Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy against New Zealand in Madras in 1956, faltered despite being assisted by both umpires and the home team.


With four hours lost due to bad light on the final day, umpires Darrell Hair and Rudi Koertzen offered Indian captain Dravid a chance to start play just before tea even though the visibility was deteriorating.


When Dravid accepted the chance to break the record, the umpires consulted Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq who sportingly agreed to take the field.


Sehwag, overnight on 247, scored seven runs to take the total to 410 when he edged a slash off seamer Rana Naved to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal.


A disappointed Sehwag finished with 254 off 247 balls, his second double-century in as many matches against Pakistan after making 201 in the third Test in Bangalore last year.


Play was called off after only 12 minutes as the light worsened, leaving Dravid unbeaten on 128, his 21st Test century but the first as an opening batsman.


Venkatsai Laxman was the other batsman at the crease, having faced one delivery without opening his account.


"It was really bad we did not get the record because we went out there today with only that in mind since the light was not good at all," said Sehwag.


"I just love the Pakistani bowling. I was not getting runs before this series but I was confident I will get runs against the Pakistanis and that's what happened.


"I have no fear while batting. If there is a loose ball to hit, I go out there and hit it. That's the way I play my game," said Sehwag, who smashed 46 boundaries and a six.


Dravid said it was great to "have the best seat in the house" when Sehwag was batting.


"He was doing all the scoring, I was just hanging in there," the Indian captain said. "It is amazing how he hit a good ball to the fence when I may have just defended it.


"It was very nice to get runs under the belt because we had been under the hammer for the first two days. The honours were pretty much even at the end of it.


"It goes to show how competitive this series is going to be. If the weather holds, it should be a cracker of a series."


Pakistan's Inzamam hoped the wicket for the second Test in Faisalabad, which begins on Saturday, will be more sporting than the one at the Gaddafi stadium here.


"We all want results, not draws. Hopefully we will get a better wicket for the remaining two Tests," said Inzamam.


"Having said that, I don't think our bowlers bowled well at all. I am happy with the batting but the bowling needs a lot of improvement."


The Faisalabad Test will be followed by the final Test in Karachi from January 29-February 2.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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