Ganguly, Laxman rub salt on Pak wounds

Published: Saturday, December 1, 2007, 14:22 [IST]
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Kolkata: Sourav Ganguly cracked an impressive century to help India reach a massive 552 for 5 in their first innings at tea on the second day of the second Test against Pakistan here on Saturday.

The left-hander hit 102 for his 14th Test hundred -- his first on home ground - to became the second batsman after opener Wasim Jaffer (202) to reach the three-figure mark against a mediocre Pakistani attack.

It was India's highest total against Pakistan at home, surpassing the previous best of 539-9 declared at Chennai in 1961.

Former captain Ganguly put on 163 for the fifth wicket with in-form Venkatsai Laxman, who was unbeaten with 91 at the interval for a second successive half-century.

Pakistan struggled for wickets for a second consecutive day on a flat pitch at the Eden Gardens as they could get just two wickets in as many sessions, removing Jaffer in the morning and Ganguly in the afternoon.

Ace paceman Shoaib Akhtar, who passed a fitness test on Friday after suffering from a chest infection, bowled in short spells for a second successive day but failed to get a wicket.

Left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir, playing only his second Test, and leg-spinner Daniesh Kaneria also could not keep pressure on Ganguly and Laxman. Both have already conceded more than 100 runs on an unhelpful track.

Jaffer, 192 overnight, reached his second double-hundred in 24 Tests in the morning's second over, when he drove Akhtar through the covers and then steered him past gully for two fours.

He was just 10 short of his career-best 212, made against the West Indies at Antigua last year, when he edged Tanvir's first delivery to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal.

Jaffer struck 34 fours in his 274-ball knock.

There was no respite for the tourists as Ganguly batted with authority against both pace and spin, much to the delight of 50,000 home fans. He hit 14 fours in his 156-ball knock.

Runs came comfortably from both the ends as middle-order batsman Laxman also dominated the Pakistani attack with fluent shots, having so far struck 14 fours in his 133-ball knock.

Ganguly looked in trouble just once when he offered a difficult chance while fending off a rising delivery from Akhtar, the ball flying past a diving Yasir Hameed at gully for a boundary.

When he was caught by Tanvir at long-off attempting a big shot off part-time spinner Salman Butt, India had reached a position of strength after resuming at 352-3.

The hosts lead 1-0 in the three-Test series following their six-wicket victory in the opening match in New Delhi on Monday.

Brief Score (at tea, D-2):

India 552 for 5 (Jaffer 202, Ganguly 102, Laxman 91*, Tendulkar 82, Dravid; Kaneria 2 for 177, Tanvir 2 for 154, Butt 1 for 16) Vs Pakistan


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