Pakistan has its back against the wall

Published: Thursday, April 15, 2004, 18:02 [IST]
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Rawalpindi: Pressing on relentlessly in their pursuit of a first-ever series triumph in Pakistan, India had the home side on the mat after Rahul Dravid reached another batting landmark by scoring 270 on the third day of the series-deciding Test in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

After scoring a massive 600 to take a mammoth 375-run first innings lead by the post-tea session, the visitors knocked off both the Pakistan openers to leave the hosts struggling at 49 for two. Pakistan had made 224 in their first essay.

Dravid, who had been batting since the last session of day one, became the first Indian to have scored five double-centuries in Test cricket before he fell after tea reverse sweeping an Imran Farhat ball into his stumps. The 495-ball effort, the Indian vice-captain's career-best knock, contained a six and 34 boundaries.

Hit hard by the absence of their best bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who injured his thumb on the follow-through towards the close of play on Wednesday evening and did not come out at all to the ground on Thursday, Pakistan bowlers toiled all day but got success only when it was already too late.

The highlight of the day's proceedings was certainly the batsmanship of Dravid who again lived upto his reputation as the "Wall" and slammed his third double-century of the season to take his tally to five and eclipse the legendary Sunil Gavaskar's record of four double tons.

The right-handed batsman also earned the distinction of scoring the highest total at the Pindi Stadium, erasing Salim Malik's effort of 237.

Dravid displayed tremendous concentration and stamina during his marathon 740-minute vigil at the crease which saw him share century stands with three of the top order batsmen -- opener Parthiv Patel, VVS Laxman and skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Dravid's double-century cements India's grip

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