Jaffer puts India on top with half-century

Published: Sunday, November 25, 2007, 14:57 [IST]
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Wasim Jaffer cracked a solid half-century to put India in a strong position on the fourth day of the opening Test against Pakistan here on Sunday.

The opener made 53 for his ninth half-century as India reached 89-2 in their second innings at tea chasing a modest 203-run target at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground.

Former captain Rahul Dravid was batting on 34 at the break with Sachin Tendulkar (one).

Jaffer and Dravid steadied the innings with an 82-run stand for the second wicket after the dismissal of Dinesh Karthik (one) in fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's opening over.

The opener fell immediately after completing his half-century with the eighth four, pulling Akhtar to Salman Butt who dived to his right to bring off a low catch at square-leg.

Barring Akhtar, none of the Pakistani bowlers could keep pressure on Dravid and Jaffer who applied themselves well on a low, slow wicket to enhance their team's chances of gaining a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

The match, evenly poised on Saturday, swung in India's favour in the morning session when left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan and part-time seamer Sourav Ganguly shared four wickets to prevent Pakistan from setting a stiff target.

The tourists, resuming at 212-5, were dismissed for 247 in their second innings after a below-par batting performance.

Pakistan had only a poor shot-selection to blame for their plight as they lost five wickets for 35 runs, with Zaheer grabbing two in his opening spell and Ganguly two in one over with the second new ball.

Overnight batsmen Kamran Akmal (21) and Misbah-ul-Haq (45), Sohail Tanvir (13) and Mohammad Sami (five) all fell playing strokes when patience was the need of the hour.

India did not have to wait long for their first success as Zaheer struck in his first over to remove Akmal, caught driving away from the body by substitute Yuvraj Singh at point.

Left-handed Tanvir was tested with short-pitched deliveries by Zaheer before losing his patience and wicket. He mistimed a pull off Zaheer and was caught by Harbhajan Singh who ran back to take a well-judged catch at square-leg.

Misbah was then left only with tailenders. He defied the Indian attack for more than an hour before falling to a rash stroke.

The middle-order batsman, 29 overnight, went for a big shot off Ganguly's first delivery with the new ball but failed to time it properly and was caught by Karthik running back from mid-on.

Mohammad Sami was caught by Jaffer in the same over before India ended Pakistan's innings by running out last-man Danish Kaneria.

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