Yousuf and Younis lead Pak fightback

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2007, 15:03 [IST]
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Kolkata: Stand-in captain Younis Khan hit an unbeaten half-century to sustain Pakistan's hopes of saving the second Test against India here on Tuesday.

Younis, leading the side in the absence of unfit Shoaib Malik, made a fighting 53 not-out as Pakistan reached 126-4 in their second innings at tea on the fifth and final day, chasing a 345-run target off 81 overs.

Pakistan, trailing 1-0 in the three-Test series, now need to bat only 29 overs in the last session to save the match. Mohammad Yousuf was the other not-out batsman on 12 at the break.

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Leg-spinner Anil Kumble put Pakistan in trouble when he grabbed two quick wickets to send the tourists struggling at 78-4, but Younis and Yousuf denied India further success with a defiant 48-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Kumble and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh posed the main threat to the Pakistani batsmen, keeping a probing line and length on a last-day pitch favouring slow bowlers.

Kumble, who shared the new ball with Zaheer Khan, put the tourists under pressure when he dismissed make-shift opener Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt in the opening hour after the lunch-break.

Akmal, who scored a century in the first innings, contributed only 14 while left-handed Butt was trapped leg-before after scoring 11.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who top-scored in the first innings with an unbeaten 161, offered a sharp chance off the first ball off Kumble, but Dinesh Karthik failed to latch on to it at short-leg.

Misbah (six) did not last long as he was bowled by paceman Munaf Patel off a delivery which came in after pitching into the roughs.

India's chances of forcing a win depended on Kumble and Harbhajan, who bowled tight with four fielders close to the bat. They have so far sent down 38 of the 52 overs.

The hosts struck in the seventh over when left-arm seamer Zaheer held a return catch to dismiss opener Yasir Hameed, who drove a fuller-length delivery after making 14.

Resuming at 141-2, India batted 6.4 overs before declaring their second innings at 184-4 to set a stiff target for Pakistan.

Former captain Sourav Ganguly, playing on his home ground, completed 6,000 runs in Test cricket during his 46 before being bowled by fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

Akhtar also claimed the other wicket to fall in the morning session when he bowled wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for 37. Rahul Dravid remained unbeaten with eight.

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