Kanpur: Salman Butt smashed a career-best 129, but failed to stop a Yuvraj Singh-inspired India from posting a 46-run win over Pakistan in the third one-day international here on Sunday.
The left-handed opener hit 17 fours in his fourth hundred -- all against India -- as his side were bowled out for 248 chasing a 295-run target to concede a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Butt, 23, failed to upstage Indian left-hander Yuvraj who scored an impressive 77, brought off a run-out and then bagged a wicket to cap a superb all-round performance. He was named man of the match.
"Yuvi is our trumpcard, I said that even before the start of the series. We want him to bat for at least 30 overs because his knock is always important," said India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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"We wanted to win this match and go 2-1 up in the series. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was at his best today and he exploited the conditions well."
Butt posed the main threat to India's total with a 142-ball knock but received little support from the other end as his side lost their way after an explosive start.
He went for big shots from the beginning as Pakistan raced to 72 off just nine overs, but lost hard-hitting Shahid Afridi (12) and in-form Younis Khan (21) in the process.
Yuvraj had a hand in the next two dismissals, running out experienced Mohammad Yousuf (16) with a direct hit from backward point to the non-striker's end then trapping Malik (12) leg-before.
Butt continued to dominate the Indian attack a wide range of attacking shots as he added 80 for the fifth wicket with Misbah-ul-Haq (38), but it came too late to swing the match in his team's favour.
The asking-rate kept climbing as Pakistan needed 96 to win in the last 10 overs with six wickets in hand. They lost their last five wickets for a meagre 34 runs, with seamer Rudra Pratap Singh finishing with 4-63.
Harbhajan was the most economical bowler, giving away 32 in 10 overs.
"Butt is batting superbly and we now want him to score the same way in the series. There are still two more games to go and we will try to win those," said Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik.
"We dropped Yuvraj early on and he went on to score 70-odd runs. We are lacking in fielding and we need to work hard in this department."
India were earlier indebted to Yuvraj for reaching a challenging total on a slow turning wicket as the middle-order batsman put on 100 for the fourth wicket with Dhoni (49) to build on a blazing start.
India got off to a brisk start after being put in to bat as Sourav Ganguly (39) and Sachin Tendulkar (29) added 68 for the opening wicket off just 10.4 overs.
Pakistan looked like containing runs when left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman bowled Gautam Gambhir (25). The Indian batsman was earlier involved in a verbal duel with bowler Shahid Afridi, forcing England umpire Ian Gould to intervene.
There was no respite for Pakistan as Yuvraj and Dhoni exploded with a flurry of boundaries, helping their side plunder 89 runs in the closing 10 overs.
Yuvraj offered a chance on 26 when a diving Butt failed to latch on to the catch at mid-wicket. He cracked three sixes and four boundaries in his 32nd half-century.