Tendulkar fires India to rare series win over Pakistan
by AFP

Ground:Captain Roop Singh Stadium, Gwalior
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, SR Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni
Event:Pakistan in India 2007/08

DateLine: 15th November 2007


Sachin Tendulkar hammered 97 to help India clinch a rare one-day series against Pakistan with a six-wicket victory in the fourth match here on Thursday.


Tendulkar fell in the 90s for the sixth time this year before India achieved a 256-run target with more than three overs to spare in the day-night game for an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.


It was India's first one-day series win against Pakistan at home since 1983.


Man-of-the-match Tendulkar looked set to break the 90s jinx this time before inside-edging a delivery from seamer Umar Gul on to his stumps, much to the disappointment of a sizeable crowd.


He was not the only batsman to miss out on a century as Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf earlier remained unbeaten with 99 to help his team post a fighting total on a slow pitch.


Yuvraj Singh (53 not out) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (45 not out) then saw to it that Tendulkar's brilliant knock was not wasted as they put on 101 for the unfinished fifth wicket.


"It was a team effort," said Dhoni, who finished the match with a six off part-time bowler Salman Butt.


"Sachin was brilliant. Yuvraj then batted well. He is an aggressive player and I want him to bat for a long period. Our bowlers also did well."


Tendulkar flayed the Pakistani attack with attractive stroke-play, racing to his half-century off 48 balls. He put on 107 for the third wicket with Virender Sehwag (43) to put his team on the right track.


India lost Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir cheaply before Tendulkar ended Pakistan's early celebrations with a gem of a knock. He punished both seamers and spinners during his 102-ball knock, hitting 16 fours.


"It does not matter that I missed a century. What matters is that the team has won," said Tendulkar.


Yousuf earlier needed nine runs off the last two balls to complete his 14th hundred but did not quite manage it, hitting a six and a two off left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh.


He was involved in two useful stands, adding 51 for the third wicket with vice-captain Younis Khan (68) and 94 for the fifth with Misbah ul-Haq (40).


Yousuf did well to keep his end intact to help Pakistan cross the 250-mark. He did the bulk of scoring in the closing stages as 77 came in the last 10 overs. He hit two sixes and seven fours in his well-paced innings.


Skipper Shoaib Malik (31), opening the innings for the first time in the series, put on 78 for the second wicket with Younis before becoming Indian left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan's 200th victim in one-day internationals.


"Our batsmen, especially Yousuf, did well and I think the total was defendable, but we gave away too many runs when bowling. That was the difference," said Malik.


India hardly felt the absence of a fifth specialist bowler as part-timers Yuvraj, Ganguly and Sehwag conceded 52 in their combined 10 overs.


Left-arm spinner Yuvraj got a vital wicket when he held a return catch to dismiss Younis just when the Pakistani batsman had threatened to dominate the Indian attack.


Seamer Ganguly also chipped in when he trapped hard-hitting Shahid Afridi leg-before for his 100th wicket in 311 one-day internationals.


He is only the third player in one-day cricket to complete a double of 10,000 runs and 100 wickets after compatriot Tendulkar and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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