India adds another glorious chapter to its history

Published: Friday, April 16, 2004, 20:15 [IST]
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Rawalpindi: India added another glorious chapter to their cricketing history when they trounced Pakistan by an innings and 131 runs for their first-ever Test series triumph in this country.

The magnificent win, which came on the fourth day of the series-deciding Test, gave India a 2-1 victory in the series that has been played in a spirit of exemplary goodwill and bonhomie.

The Indians could not have asked for a more fitting finish to a match which they dominated right from the first session, as Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly plucked last man Danish Kaneria off Sachin Tendulkar, much to the delight of his euphoric teammates, waiting for this moment since this morning.

The architects of the Indian win were not one but many. However, one cannot take away the credit from Rahul Dravid who scored 270 to set up the huge first innings score of 600 and Lakshmipathy Balaji who bowled his heart out to return figures of three for 108.

Rahul Dravid was adjudjed the Man of the Match, while Virender Sehwag was awarded the Man of the Series.

Balaji was also instrumental in bundling out Pakistan for 224 on the first day of the match itself, emerging as the highest wickettaker with figures of four for 63.

Trailing by 376 runs in the first innings, Pakistan's batting collapsed for the second time as they were packed off for 245 in 54 overs by the visitors about half an hour after the lunch break on Friday.

The Indians thus completed their first full-fledged tour of Pakistan in nearly 15 years on a happy note, having also registered a 3-2 win in the preceding One-day series.

It was the first away series win in 11 years for India who had defeated Sri Lanka 1-0 in 1993.

The victory also saw Ganguly making his own piece of history as not only did he become the first captain to lead India to a series win on Pakistani soil but also became the most successful skipper ever with 15 Test wins, erasing Mohammad Azharuddin's record of 14 wins.

Having reduced Pakistan to 49 for two overnight, the Indian were desperate to finish off the job and in their restlessness dropped as many as five catches in the first half an hour of play.

However, they made up for the lapses soon, snapping up five quick wickets including that of in-form captain Inzamam-ul-Haq to tighten the noose around the hosts in overcast conditions.

The hosts lost the wickets of Kamran Akmal (23), Yasir Hameed (20), Haq (9), Yousuf Youhana (48) and Mohammad Sami (O) during the extended pre-lunch session to allow the visitors to come within sniffing distance of victory.

The post-lunch session saw Indians take the remaining three wickets, including that of Shoaib Ahktar who made a cameo 28 of 14 balls.

India on the threshold of historic series win

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